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. After Orlando's matter-of-fact reaction to discovering he is a woman, the narrator with tongue-in-cheek explains how reasonable such a transformation is despite people's desire to define it as abnormal: "Many people, taking this into account, and holding that such a change of sex is against nature, have been at great pains to prove (1) that Orlando has always been a woman, (2) that Orlando is at this moment a man. Let b...
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- 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]
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- 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]
2738 words (7.8 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Gender, Sex, Gender role, Virginia Woolf]
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- 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]
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- In a time of war when people were dying, one women was worried about keeping the thing she loved the most alive, literature. During the World War I literature was starting to die off, and something had to be done, literature needed to evolve and change with the time. The tragedy caused grief, but Virginia Woolf wanted to break the old customs of people, and make them more open minded. As a woman doing a job that didn’t involve being a housewife or cleaning was not easy, so for Virginia to pursue a career in literature it took bravery.... [tags: Gender, Woman, Transgender, Female]
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- Mrs. Dalloway - A Modern Tragedy The narrative of Mrs. Dalloway may be viewed by some as random congealing of various character experience. Although it appears to be a fragmented assortment of images and thought, there is a psychological coherence to the deeply layered novel. Part of this coherence can be found in Mrs. Dalloway's psychological tone which is tragic in nature. In her forward to Mrs. Dalloway, Maureen Howard informs us that Woolf was reading both Sophocles and Euripides for her essays in The Common Reader while writing Mrs.... [tags: Woolf Mrs. Dalloway Essays]
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- 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]
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- 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]
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- I am not funny. If you were to ask my friends, they would inform you that I am only funny when I am not trying to be, as in the times when I trip and fall (which happens more often than I would like) or perform some other unintentional folly. If you were to ask someone else who doesn’t know me well, I am certain that “awkward” or “quiet” would be the words chosen to describe me far more often than “hilarious”. When I do try to be funny, I am generally aware that my jokes are bad; I rely on corniness and silly mannerisms rather than wit to elicit laughter.... [tags: Humor ]
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- Ambiguity in Reason in Orlando Furioso Ariosto addresses an underlying battle between reason and lust in Orlando Furioso, similar to the clash between duty and desires in Vergil’s Aeneid, yet opposite in interpretation. Vergil presents the message that duty overpowers desires, while Ariosto shows the opposite effect when he equates reason, rules, and authority with duty, and love, passion, and lust with desire. The "mettlesome charger" represents Lust that will not stop fighting to obtain its goals and cannot be gently coerced from its direction.... [tags: Orlando Furioso Essays]
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