The First Time I Read Orlando By Virginia Woolf Essay

The First Time I Read Orlando By Virginia Woolf Essay

Length: 1605 words (4.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview




Orlando by Virginia Woolf

The first time I read Orlando by Virginia Woolf, I was very confused. It seemed that the book was about time travel, as if Orlando was like Dr. Who or Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap. Then the lead character changes gender and decades so effortlessly without any explanation or alarm. Upon further investigation, I realized how interesting Orlando and Virginia Woolf really were, especially for the time period. The plot context doesn’t really necessarily matter. Like Roger Ebert writes in Chicago Sun-Times, "it is not about a story or a plot, but about a vision of human existence." Woolf wrote this faux-biography as playful fun and without too much seriousness. I believe she based a great deal of the story on her own life and the lives of her closest friends.
Virginia Woolf, originally Virginia Stephens, was born in London in 1882 to a well to do middle class family. She spent time vacationing with her parents and 5 siblings in the summers at St. Ives. She had a happy childhood, until her mother died when she was 10 years old. The death of her mother sparked a chain reaction of disasters in her life. A few years later her father died and then her older sister. The remaining siblings decided to move away from the city, where they were subject to observation and scrutiny, and they relocated to Brighton. This was considered scandalous because it wasn’t a desired area at the time, but they Stephens’s children took refuge in their new home. They flourished in the arts. After a trip to Greece her older brother came down with Typhoid fever and died. Virginia had seen too much tragedy and it took a toll on her mental stability. Virginia struggled with manic depression and sometime schizophrenia. She would go thr...


... middle of paper ...


...rry/Harriet served as a comic relief character.






The most unusual difference between the book and the film is the ending. In the book, Orlando marries Shelmerdine, has a son, and gets her estate back. In the final scene, Orlando cries out Shelmerdine as he returns in an airplane. In the film, it is unclear if she marries Shelmerdine, she reluctantly loses the estate, and ends the movie back at the oak tree with her child videotaping her with an androgynous angel floating in the sky and singing "I am coming . . . at last I am free." I thought the angel was very strange. Not only did this scene not make sense, but I felt it was very tacky and did not fit the style of the rest of the film. I seemed like something the director would talk about with their design team and conceptualize, but when it is executed, it end up being a terrible idea. They should of cut it.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Virginia Woolf’s Orlando Essay

- Virginia Woolf’s Orlando Born in the late nineteenth century, Virginia Woolf’s visionary mind emerged in a social climate that did not cultivate the intellectual development of women. In England’s waning Victorian era, the upper classes of women were encouraged to become nothing more than obedient wives, self-effacing mothers, servile hostesses, and cheerful, chattering tea-drinkers, expectations that Virginia Woolf shunned, renounced, and ultimately denounced in her writings. Beside being born into a patriarchal culture, Virginia Woolf was also born into a family headed by a man who made it clear that he "expected more from his sons than his daughters" (Bazin 4)....   [tags: Literary]

Better Essays
1343 words (3.8 pages)

Clothing and Gender in Virginia Woolf's Orlando Essay

- Clothing and Gender in Virginia Woolf's Orlando In her novel Orlando, Virginia Woolf tells the story of a man who one night mysteriously becomes a woman. By shrouding Orlando's actual gender change in a mysterious religious rite, we readers are pressured to not question the actual mechanics of the change but rather to focus on its consequences. In doing this, we are invited to answer one of the fundamental questions of our lives, a question that we so often ignore because it seems so very basic - what is a man....   [tags: Virginia Woolf Orlando Essays]

Better Essays
1048 words (3 pages)

Virginia Woolf's Orlando and the Relationship between Virginia and Vita

- Virginia Woolf's Orlando and the Relationship between Virginia and Vita It has been said the novel Orlando is the longest love-letter ever written; a celebration of the bond between women. The relationship between Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West is well documented and known to have been intimate. That Virginia was passionate and giddy about her relationship with Vita is also known and displayed in Orlando. But Orlando also offers a rare intimate glimpse into the mind of Virginia Woolf. An unselfconscious work, it reveals her mind, talent at play....   [tags: Virginia Woolf Orlando Essays]

Better Essays
2738 words (7.8 pages)

Humor and Tragedy in Virginia Woolf's Orlando Essay

- Virginia Woolfe's "Orlando" uses both humor and tragedy to observe humanity's often absurd and eccentric superficial constructions, both of class and gender. Woolfe creates the distinctions between male and female but continuously shatters them to reveal the illusions we create about gender. As George Meredith suggests, comedy is created when "The comic poet dares to show us men and women coming to this mutual likeness" (15). Woolfe, however, goes beyond simply bringing men and women together as equals; she blends them together as one androgynous individual, the effect of which causes us to laugh at the artificial way in which society attempts to define gender....   [tags: Virginia Woolf Orlando Essays]

Better Essays
652 words (1.9 pages)

Time Travel in Virginia Wololf´s Orlando Essay

- In the introduction to David Wittenberg’s book Time Travel: The Popular Philosophy of Narrative, he defines the concept of ‘psychohistoriography’ in terms of time travel narratives as “concern[ing] the meaning of the individual historical event and its capacity to affect and define the broader historical record, as well as, alternatively, the capacity of that historical record to define and characterize the individual event.” And so, when analyzing time travel narratives he first makes the distinction that “it is not the specific theoretical or philosophical issue at hand, nor its unusual level of complexity, but rather the mode in which that issue is woven into the substance of the narrativ...   [tags: theory, historial, narration, time]

Better Essays
1317 words (3.8 pages)

Analysis Of Virginia Woolf 's ' Orlando ' Essay examples

- With everything in life we have the good and bad, the easy and the hard, the weak and the strong, or the smart and the ignorant. The symbol of life is like a great big ying yang sign. Sometimes women have a greater advantage over men on certain things just as men have an advantage over women on other things. Virginia Woolf shows us in her novel Orlando, that there are advantages and disadvantages in being either man or women. She used a fictional character named Orlando who goes back and forth, trying to reason with the fact that he became a woman and had to live in a society where men ruled and women had many more restrictions and expectations than men did....   [tags: Woman, Gender, Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom]

Better Essays
1205 words (3.4 pages)

Orlando, The Titular Character, Orlando Essay

- Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, the titular character, Orlando, goes through three extraordinary experiences. Orlando never ages beyond the age of thirty, transforms into a woman, and then gives birth. The events that Orlando goes through are given very vague detail into how they occur and are only explained by the unnamed biographer who claims the events are true. Therefore, can the biographer be trusted when telling the reader that Orlando has not aged past thirty, turned into a woman and given birth....   [tags: Gender, Female, Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom]

Better Essays
1089 words (3.1 pages)

Mrs. Dalloway By William Woolf Essay

- Early twentieth century author Virginia Woolf was fixated on the ideas of philosophy and time. Woolf believed that people were only here for a short period of time. She also believed that everyone’s life was made up of moments. Those moments could either be expanded upon or pass by; once a moment passes by, then it is gone forever. When a moment is expanded upon, then that means the moment feels as though it is more than just a second. That moment holds a special meaning or event. Woolf often incorporated these ideas about the temporality of time into her works; it is most apparent in her novel, Mrs....   [tags: Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf, Time, Strike action]

Better Essays
1480 words (4.2 pages)

Comparing Orlando by Virginia Woolf, Laughter in the Dark by Vladimir Nabokov and Orlando by Sally

- Comparing Orlando by Virginia Woolf, Laughter in the Dark by Vladimir Nabokov and Orlando by Sally Potter The novels, Orlando by Virginia Woolf and Laughter in the Dark by Vladimir Nabokov, as well as the film, Orlando, written and directed by Sally Potter, are all self-reflexive, or metafictional, i.e., they draw our attention to the processes and techniques of writing and the production of cinema. All three share similarities and differences in setting, narrative technique, characterization and theme....   [tags: Movie Film Comparison Contrast Compare]

Better Essays
3482 words (9.9 pages)

The Intersection of External Time and Internal Time in Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

- In Mrs Dalloway, the modernist writer Virginia Woolf undermines the usual conventions of prior prose fiction by adopting an innovative approach to time. She contrasts the objective external time and subjective internal time that structure the plot of the one-day novel. In fact, the story takes place on a single day in June and, by the use of two important techniques, namely the stream of consciousness mode of narration and the interior monologue, the reader is constantly flowing from the present to the past or the future....   [tags: Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf]

Better Essays
2726 words (7.8 pages)