- Notice how the mirror in the first paragraph is set up as the frame for a kind of a portrait.
- The unnamed narrator attempts to construct a portrait of the Isabella Tyson that consists of her outer self and her inner self. The portrait is reflected in the objects inside and outside the house as they reflect in the mirror.Describe the images reflected in the mirror.
- What kind of contrast is there between the objects inside the house and outside the house, as they are reflected in the mirror
- Describe how the narrator attempts to compose the portrait through the mood inside the room, through her own imagination, and through the presentation of Isabella in the mirror
- What are the known facts about Isabella’s outer self?
- What material objects inside and outside the house does the narrator use to imagine Isabella’s life?
- What are Isabella’s letters supposed to conceal, according to the narrator? What would one know if one could only read them?
- At the end of the story, according to the narrator, is it possible to know objectively one’s inner reality?
- In this story Woolf questions whether the inner self of an individual is finally knowable. What do you think is her conclusion? Provide support for your statement.
- What do you think is the role of the mirror in the story? How has the mirror been used as a metaphor in literature?
- Describe the characteristics of this story that resemble stream-of-consciousness narrative technique.
Find a picture of a room inside and a garden to illustrate the house in the story
Read the following text. How is this related to the story?
- The looking glass “framed” Isabella, wh. she looked at herself in the looking glass, all the superficial things that she carried fell off. She stood completely naked in front of the mirror, making the readers able to see what were her thoughts and feelings, she had none. The mirror framed her, uncover and found Isabella’s inner self.
- The images reflected in the mirror are images of death. While the lady was standing in front of the mirror you could see that, even though she seem calmed and normal on the outside , she was dead on the inside.
- While the inside of the house was very messy and lonely, the outside was full of life and bright. This contrast between the two places, inside and outside, reflect the lady’s state of mind, she was calmed on the outside but a mess on the inside.
- The objects inside the house are described as constantly moving; chaotic. While the objects outside the house are described as fragile. The mirror reflects this two states of mind.
- The facts known about Isabella’s outer self are that she had a lot of money. Also that she had travelled all around the world, and we can say this because she had gathered one thing from each country she was in. Also she was a spinster, and she seem to not have any family connections.
- We can suppose that Isabella Tyson is a very materialistic and rich woman. She is what she chooses to show; the physical part. Isabella is a spinster.
- The letters that Isabella wrote concealed her inside self, so her personality and her illusions. So if you read the letters you could see what she’s thinking and feeling.
- Yes, in the end of the story Isabella realizes that she is dead inside and she is naked of personality, so her reality is given away to the reader, and we realizes that she is lonely and lost.
- We can know one’s inner self but at the same time, it is empty so there is nothing to know. At the beginning we think that Isabella owns some letters that we later come to realise that they are nothing but bills.
- We believe the mirror is a reflection of the inner self, in the story, it has the role of discovering the real Isabella, and make her see how empty she is. The mirror is a metaphor of purification, self realization, in this case, what Isabella really is.
- The stream of consciousness is a technique that Virginia Woolf used when she wrote whatever that came through her mind. She used Isabella to convey her feelings, thoughts and ideas. At the end of the story, we realize that Isabella and Virginia Woolf is empty inside.