When we first meet Louis, he is doing his best to be invisible. He appreciates the solitude that nature gives him and embraces everything about it – so much so that he envisions himself as a literal tree. When the others call for him, Louis remains as still as possible and attempts to blend into his surrounds using his mind and will power. However, when Jinny runs up and kisses him “All is shattered.”
Louis is uncomfortable with humans. He is perfectly relaxed and content while spending his time outside. His mind wanders from one thought to another, just pleasantly drifting along until his beautiful world is shattered by the intrusion of a human. In this scene, Louis is not identifying himself as a person but rather as a plant. He refers to all he does and feels in a natural way – at least until Jinny shows up. When she kisses him, he is yanked back into the reality of people that he fears by so humane an action. Louis is uncomfortable with other people because he fears their opinions of him. He is insecure about details even as small as his Australian accent. For some reason, he fears that it is a negative aspect about himself and wants to escape it.
Woolf’s use of consciousness in this novel allows the reader to see exactly what is on a character’s mind. Louis’ mind keeps returning to things like his accent and his father being a banker – these are what he obsesses over. By the end of the novel, the reader can see that Louis is thinking about his own self-importance. He sits around thinking of the fact that his signature is required on various papers. Louis focuses on things like status and business – he has become completely materialistic, a far cry from the child who once wanted to be a tree.