The Duchess and the Jeweler is the story of the world's greatest jeweler who had promised his mother to become the richest jeweler in the world in his childhood but now that his dream has materialized he does not feel satisfied. So trying to achieve satisfaction, knowingly he buys fake pearls from a Duchess in exchange for passing a whole weekend with her daughter whom he is in love with. The purpose of this essay is to show how Virginia Woolf has successfully presented the inner mind of the characters, their struggle and their communication through the least amount of verbal communication among them.
The silent communication created by Woolf's "The Duchess and the Jeweler" is firstly the communication between the reader and the story and secondly the communication between the characters in the text themselves. In better words this story firstly reveals the mind of the characters to the reader through the least amount of explicit expression of their states and secondly presents the interaction among the characters of the story through the fewest possible dialogues among them.
The first stance in the unvoiced communication between the reader and the story is the revelation of the childhood memories of Oliver Bacon that takes place without the author's giving voice to them. The very first acquaintance of the reader with Oliver's childhood takes place when he addresses himself: "you who began life in the filthy little alley" and then falls in to his childhood memories. This very short statement of Oliver to himself is very expressive of his childhood and also of his attitude towards this period of his life. Through the author's prior descriptions of the living place of Oliver, his servant and his habits it is revealed that Oliver Bacon is a very affluent man now while this short self-address reveals his childhood poverty. Also it is through his retrospections that the readers get aware that he has started with selling stolen dogs, continued with selling watches in a little counter, and finally has promoted to his present profession as a jeweler. So it is mostly through Oliver's silent remembrances that the reader gets familiar with his early days. Also this little talk of Oliver to himself shows the reader that he has a pre-occupation with his childhood and all the efforts he has gone through in order to save all his money. Though he never mentions this, his constant retrospections show the importance that his childhood has for him. As an example when Oliver is in his room just before the entrance of the Duchess, he starts thinking of his boyhood passed in misery and hard times. This shows how Virginia Woolf cunningly, without explicit mentioning of Oliver's pre-occupation with his childhood, interacts with the reader through the character's retrospections and gives the reader the chance to get involved with the text. Therefore the mind of Oliver and also his general history is disclosed to the reader through the least number of spoken words of the character.