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)
- 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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- The battle against death, while can be portrayed as magnificent, is ultimately pathetic and insignificant. Like a boulder tipping precariously off a cliff, one can exhibit the ardent desire to survive, yet against the fragility and impermanence of life, this desire is a pitiful effort in the face of impending failure. The hopelessness of such a situation is depicted in “The Death of the Moth” by Virginia Woolf, in which the moth incessantly endeavors to overcome the irresolvable dilemma of breaking through the barriers that contain it and visit the outside world.... [tags: The Death of the Moth, Virginia Woolf]
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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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- Orlando Furioso Clarifies Vergil’s Ending in The Aeneid Ariosto adapts and transforms Vergil’s final episode of The Aeneid into his own conclusion in Orlando Furioso. The final scenes in the epics parallel one another in many ways, yet also show distinct differences. Ruggiero and Rodomont represent Aeneas and Turnus, respectively, and the actions of Ariosto’s characters can be interchanged with their corresponding characters’ acts in The Aeneid. Ariosto reminds us of controversy and questions that Vergil elicits in his conclusion and responds interpretively, reshaping the ending and clarifying ambiguities.... [tags: Orlando Furioso Essays]
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- Viriginia Woolf (this essay has problems with the format) One of the greatest female authors of all time, Virginia Woolf, produced a body of writing respected worldwide. Driven by uncontrollable circumstances and internal conflict, her life was cut short by suicide. Her role in feminism, along with the personal relationships in her life, influenced her literary works. Virginia's relationships throughout her life contributed, not only to her literature, but the quality of her life as well. Perhaps the greatest influence in Virginia's life is her mother, Julia Stephen.... [tags: Author Viriginia Woolf feminism relationships]
1952 words (5.6 pages)