For, though women, as I see them, have little or no feeling of responsibility towards a county or a country or a career—although they may be lacking in any kind of communal solidarity—they have an immense and automatically working instinct that attaches them to the interest of womanhood.
This quotation is written by Dowell in Part IV, Section VI of the novel, as he reflects on the tragic story he has just told. Dowell perceives women to be the radically different other. He assumes that, like Catholics, they think and act in a way which is completely foreign to his own. He also considers them to be individualists, more concerned with their own happiness and well-being than with their country or with anything larger than themselves. By blaming womanhood for its irrationality and individualized nature, he allows himself to feel that he is the rational, victimized party. He believes that they act together to do what is best for themselves and their gender. In this way, they help to maintain power over men. By accepting this view of womanhood, Dowell helps himself to give some order and structure to what appears to be an entirely chaotic situation.