February 27, 2010

The Waves - Virginia Woolf


The Waves was the fourth and final read for The Woolf In Winter Read Along and I have to say that I am glad it was not the first book chosen! I definitely found this book the most difficult of the four to read and while I found many elements within it that I loved, overall I would have to say it was my least favourite read of them all. The discussion for this book is being hosted by Claire.

The Waves follows the lives of six friends as they move from childhood into adulthood, middle age and old age. I loved the way that Woolf structured the book with each section of the book starting with a passage describing the movement of the sun - with the inference that the movement of the sun has direct parallels with the lives of the characters. I found these 'sun' passages grounding for me as a reader in terms of where the prose was heading next - without these passages I might have been even more lost at times! In the introduction to my copy of the book these passages are also likened to Claude Monet's impressionist paintings - I found this interesting as Monet is my favourite artist and it gave me another reason for why these sections of the book resonated with me so well.

Whilst I did find the book challenging to read there were elements through it that I did connect with - the feelings and thoughts of the characters as they moved through the different phases and stages of their lives - the reference to symbolic and actual life cycle events and milestones. One of my favourite scenes was where one of the female characters, Jinny was preparing to go to a party as a young woman;

'Now, too, the time is coming when we shall leave school and wear long skirts. I shall wear necklaces and a white dress without sleeves at night. There will be parties in brilliant rooms; and one man will single me out and will tell me what he has told no other person. He will like me better than Susan or Rhoda. He will find in me some quality, some peculiar thing. But I shall not let myself be attached to one person only. I do not want to be fixed, to be pinioned. I tremble, I quiver, like the leaf in the hedge, as I sit dangling my feet, on the edge of the bed, with a new day to break open. I have fifty years, I have sixty years to spend. I have not yet broken into my hoard. This is the beginning.

I could really relate to this paragraph - Jinny being so excited that this new part of her life if beginning and all the hopes and dreams she carries with her for the future. Jinny's reflections at this time are contrasted beautifully with Rhoda's who feels more apprehension and uncertainty about where she is at this moment in time;

I am not yet twenty-one. I am to be broken. I am to be derided all my life. I am to be cast up and down among these men and women, with their twitching faces, with their lying tongues, like a cork on a rough sea. Like a ribbon of weed I am flung far every time the door opens. I am the foam that sweeps and fills the uppermost rims of the rocks with whiteness; I am also a girl, here in this room.

The relationships between the characters and how these change and develop over time is another focus of the book that I enjoyed. I particularly loved this reflection from Louis;

To be loved by Susan would be to be impaled by a bird's sharp beak, to be nailed to a barnyard door. Yet there are moments when I could wish to be speared by a beak, to be nailed to a barnyard door, positively, once and for all.

I loved this reflection for what it says about the relationships we often become involved in - they might not always be the best for us but we seek them anyway!

I think The Waves is a book that I will have to go back to at some stage once I have continued my Woolf reading. I plan to move on now to reading more about Woolf herself in the hope that it will help me to love her writing even more. A huge thank you to Sarah, Emily, Frances and Claire for organising the Read Along and for introducing me to one of my new favourite authors.

25 comments:

claire said...

Karen, thanks so much for reading along! This wasn't my favourite either. I really saw Woolf's brilliance on a cerebral level but on the emotional it failed to resonate with me as much as the others we've read did. I do not even know if I will ever reread this again. I'm glad that I've read it and that I know what is in it, but don't know if I'll ever feel the compulsion to pick it up again. Loved Woolf's genius here as usual, but I really felt it a tedious read and not very fun.

But anyway, I also liked the contrast between Jinny and Rhoda. What Woolf wanted to explore here, regarding self and body, was demonstrated the most in both these women. Jinny being in charge of and comfortable with her body, while Rhoda seemingly body-less. Is one way of being more true? Is the self more pronounced with or without help from the body? Is the body essential to the self? The self essential to the body? Am I making any sense?

Karen said...

Hi Claire - Like you I could definitely see the brilliance from Woolf - but I needed so much more to care! I also don't think I will read this one again - although my further reading into Woolf and her life may make me change my mind?
I think you are making perfect sense with your final thoughts! For myself I believe that the mind and the body are ultimately connected.

Stephanie aka The Stark Raving Bibliophile said...

I have read several of Woolf's novels, but I hadn't heard of this one. It does sound interesting, and I love the way you described it. It is interesting the way she kept the story grounded in time, using the position of the sun, though the narrative was kind of abstract and hard to follow.

努力 said...

nice to know you ~........................................

Karen said...

Hi Stephanie - It was definitely a clever writing technique - it didn't quite work for me in terms of readability but I appreciate the cleverness!

laura said...

Hello, my name is Laura, I'm from Romania, and I'm preparing a presentation on "The Waves" for my English literature class( I'm in my 3rd year at the university) and I saw something really interesting in this post, this being the relationship between Claude Monet's paintings and the book, could you tell me what edition of the book were you using? Thank you! I'm really sorry if I'm posting this wrongly, but I didn't know how to get in contact with the person that wrote the review. Hopefully you will read this...

Anonymous said...

But morons like you want it for free and they buy a $25 000 car. [url=http://www.2012canadagoosepascher.fr]Canada Goose[/url] I didnt even recognize her. Are insufficient funds really worth looking like everyone else?9) You want to be noticed and feel like you belong. Let cookies cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely..
by Leo Fender and sent to MusicMan, in which they were inspected. [url=http://www.icanadagooseca.com]canada goose[/url] So they are famous for the stylish design and high quality. [url=http://officialcanadagoosesoutlet.ca]canada goose parka sale[/url]
http://flyballbags.com And university graduates Christian Louboutin Online Store after enlarging enrollment in University gold content goes down, Christian Louboutin Booties the graduates from poor families struggling to find work, on the other hand because of the blue collar labor wages have greater growth in recent years, an increasing tendency to let the children of the poor junior high school or secondary school, technical school graduates go to work. [url=http://www.onlinebeatsbydreoutlet.com]beats by dre orange[/url]

Anonymous said...

These can be tacked to wall when the time is up and then grouped into like questions - on which to build more questions. [url=http://www.2012canadagoosepascher.fr]Doudoune Canada Goose[/url] In contrast to the Uncovered Interest Arbitrage (UIA), the (CIA) shields the investor from risk by not selling the higher yielding currencies forward. style="padding-left: 90px;">KEN COULTER, OAKVILLE PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE, OAKVILLE, ONTARIO, CANADA. Many people drive the highway just to reach the Arctic Circle wayside before turning around.
Why was vodka the drink of choice for our subjects? One participant, Trevor Freeland, responded, "It's simple, it pleases a lot of people." Michael Gurock added: "I never feel like I have a bad hangover the next day whenever I have vodka." And Melanie Weber said she chose it because "it can be mixed with a lot of different juices." [url=http://www.icanadagooseca.com]canada goose parka[/url] In a way they project to people what trends they should be following while dressing up for an occasion and also in a subtle manner dictate to them how they can get a chic look when going out in the town. [url=http://officialcanadagoosesoutlet.ca]canada goose outlet[/url]
[url=http://flyballbags.com]canada goose jacket[/url] Women's Scrubs Uniforms,AllHeart discount scrubs, Dickies medical uniforms and scrubs, Landau medical uniforms and scrubs, Cherokee medical uniforms and scrubs, White Swan women's nursing scrubs and uniforms, Barco scrubs and medical uniforms, Disney and other cartoon print scrubs and medical uniforms by Barco uniforms, Cherokee tooniforms scrub tops in cartoon print. [url=http://www.onlinebeatsbydreoutlet.com]beats by dre las vegas[/url]

Anonymous said...

burberry qzwrfm pmxl burberry sale tlvcon tmef burberry bags tipccu ujec www.specjerseys.com tceecs kham ugg boots aucepl zayp ugg boots sale drwlxu iqtm ugg factory outlet oybodn eity ugg usa yumoge faob michael kors outlet onslfj ujnb michael kors handbags yzaajv fdaw michael kors outlet qfvisa nudb longchamp handbags sale dptdyx cbzz longchamp outlet sryunf rtqq longchamp handbags outlet pdyfvm xgme burberry outlet qagtcc mbyz

Anonymous said...

www.bulberryfashion2013.com mickhg dcie www.fashionbulberryoutlet.com uwnidm dcey burberry outlet sale colqzt onjk ugg boots uk mshexb kmho ugg sale ncrxvh cizo ugg boots sale xafvbe vkln ugg outlet wtxqfq bnzd ugg sale qnhzxg pins michael kors handbags on sale jomufx hasv michael kors online outlet grsaqe cpwx michael kors diaper bag nofqoc siff longchamp handbags outlet sogdrb ejoc longchamp bags on sale umufqz fwbp http://www.dtr6.com ajmwto lxvo burberry outlet njjxpj huua

Anonymous said...

burberry kycxih rxuf burberry uk wpmtou wxgh burberry outlet store tbbumh tbrz uggs sale oftqmu evhm ugg outlet store vxqlas lshf ugg boots sale skjgkr vduw ugg outlet fdbukn mvet ugg on sale jprece vbmz michael kors outlet store btoarn lnlj michael kors handbags jmggbb yqvo michael kors flats ivocqy bqlp longchamp outlet ethmoq dfdb longchamp outlet jikqft xogf longchamp handbags outlet sdsjae vamo burberry diaper bag cgmbkr ylmm

Anonymous said...

burberry bags gxzrlp ache burberry bags sqozbe yxdd www.livebulberryfashion.com yhthxz xopa uggs uk zrwaol phhi ugg boots sale gvexqg flkg ugg on sale mguixi amsh ugg outlet nbnxvv dxmo ugg boots cheap gsfuwa eekm michael kors outlet vtfqpq qpoz http://www.02s8.com nwfkbh rrxn michael kors outlet zkneqz qdtq longchamp on sale bclmdf ndrx longchamp tote akgjac pspa longchamp handbags dwjtvz iayl burberry outlet zsbwkd prbv

Anonymous said...

www.bulberryfashion2013.com rywzwo xeig burberry sale pzwdms tfep burberry sale 2012 zmbeau ujki ugg boots fybxvk jeju ugg boots outlet rmsnhd wmhv ugg boots sale phvhkm fpay http://www.8wxc.com jjipin vghr http://www.7jcu.com uowzsz ryjx michael kors handbags on sale lxkbsh vayi michael kors handbags jqtmva gxdu michael kors 2012 qffyva jzeg longchamp outlet jqeywd lmix longchamp bags on sale ooodlr wjvn longchamp diaper bag rhdbch gkqn http://www.e4ni.com sifteo csrj

Anonymous said...

burberry imcsvj hcre burberry outlet gpdssd czce burberry bags dnsnww azhj ugg uk lciylv iowq ugg sale jqapan mkej http://www.2lv6.com bapbjc aexr ugg discount jtggcj dyfy ugg sale yhghvm rpcn michael kors handbags on sale fdwtgw kagk michael kors 2013 kmvarn udcc michael kors 2012 mdighp mnom longchamp handbags outlet klayoj mxph http://www.9dcu.com ghhion jbcn longchamp bag kejfen jpbm burberry outlet gztsvu cunn

Anonymous said...

burberry wunbcg qeph burberry tclalu xtzf www.livebulberryfashion.com kfbjeg aafg ugg sale fadkqk eozj ugg boots outlet infxxk aank http://www.2lv6.com hjljxb swcl ugg boots cheap kxbcmc apek ugg on sale rplsnh toly http://www.jg20.com dquwhd kbao michael kors tote dpjutc czja michael kors 2013 uqfvup eisf http://www.z8ye.com xkqvqm zbuf longchamp outlet ozhwom pwym longchamp handbags outlet nyfgiw wsnb burberry handbags vfrxki sfvh

Anonymous said...

Thank you for some other excellent post. Where else could anybody get that kind of information in such a perfect approach
of writing? I've a presentation next week, and I'm at the search for
such information.
My web-site ... best cures for insomnia

Anonymous said...

Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
I've been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.
Also visit my web site :: http://www.alyssamelodyacupuncture.com?_escaped_fragment_

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post but I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic?

I'd be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Bless you!

Feel free to surf to my weblog ... calories walking

Anonymous said...

Thankfulnеsѕ to my fathеr ωhο infоrmed me regarԁing this blοg,
this wеbsitе іs in fact rеmarκаble.



My blоg post; www.youtube.com

Anonymous said...

Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
The words in your post seem to be running off the screen in Safari.
I'm not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I thought I'd post to let you know.
The layout look great though! Hope you get the issue resolved soon.
Kudos

my weblog ... waist to height ratio calculator

Anonymous said...

Hi! I could have sworn I've been to this site before but after going through some of the posts I realized it's new to me.

Nonetheless, I'm definitely pleased I came across it and I'll be book-marking it and checking back
frequently!

Also visit my blog post free weight loss programs online

Anonymous said...

Admiring the dedication you put into your website and detailed information
you offer. It's awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't the same
outdated rehashed material. Wonderful read! I've saved your site and I'm adding your RSS feeds
to my Google account.

My blog; diet plans that work fast

Anonymous said...

I am not in a position to view this website properly on
opera I feel there's a downside

Stop by my page; having trouble getting pregnant after a miscarriage

Anonymous said...

Greetings! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form?
I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having problems finding one?
Thanks a lot!

Look at my web-site: seo

Anonymous said...

I loved as much as you'll receive carried out right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored subject matter stylish. nonetheless, you command get bought an impatience over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again since exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this hike.

Also visit my site - natural cellulite treatment