Summary Of ' Jacob 's Room ' Essay

Summary Of ' Jacob 's Room ' Essay

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A story that lacks a plot may cause readers to question what the underlying motive in writing a novel is. Virginia Woolf’s novel, Jacob’s Room, causes readers to do just this. Jacob’s Room appears to have no plot, but this lack of purpose is no accident. Through experimental narrative techniques Woolf develops a novel that emphasizes the psychological realm of her characters rather than the plot or action; though this experimentation does not come without problems, Jacob’s Room is still one of her most famous works today.
Woolf’s novel resembles “that of a sketchbook artist rather than an academic painter” (Zwererdling 895). The scenes in Jacob’s Room end abruptly and Woolf explains nothing in depth. Scenes that depict relationships between characters are random events that occur throughout the characters day and have no special significance; the novel discusses no topic for more than a few pages before the scene changes again. The novel is a large abstract painting that flows together, but does not appear to have any distinct purpose or plot; it instead characterizes Jacob through the views of different characters.
The abstract view Woolf presents displays a narrative technique that is unique to her writing. In her writing, she uses a stream of consciousness narrative technique and occasionally an indirect interior monologue technique. An indirect interior monologue is a narrative technique in which the narrator presents character’s thoughts in third person (Snaith 133). In Woolf’s later writings, she utilizes an indirect interior monologue narrative method throughout the entire novel. It appears that she experiments with this narrative technique in Jacob’s Room. When using interior indirect monologue narration first and seco...


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... narrator’s perspective is that of an older person who can describe “the obstinate irrepressible conviction which makes youth so intolerably disagreeable—‘I am what I am, and I intend to be it’ for which there will be no form in the world unless Jacob decides to make one for himself” (Woolf 19). Through a stream of conscious narration the reader gets only a biased view of Jacob and is unable to observe his true identity.
Through a hard to follow stream of consciousness comes a highly regarded piece of literature. Woolf conveys an experimental narrative style through her, almost entirely stream of conscious, novel and adds in a few lines of indirect interior narration. What starts out as a piece of literature that appears to have no plot, turns into a well thought out story that seeks to show the reader how hard, or almost impossible it is to define one’s identity.

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