Hello all! My name is Drew Blanchette. I'm 21 years old and a class member of the Virginia Woolf Seminar. First and foremost, I must warn potential viewers that I have no knowledge of Virginia Woolf's work. I am hoping that as the class progresses and I have a chance to read her apparently fabulous works (or so I have been told) I will develop some knowledge and appreciation. As my blogs increase perhaps the reader will pick up on my progression! Hopefully whoever looks over my site will enjoy my posts and not be too bored by my analyzing attempts. Thanks ahead of time for viewing my site!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Woolf's Style and The Mark on the Wall

After reading and hearing the presentation about Virginia Woolf’s life, I must say that I am stunned. Why stunned? Well maybe amazed is a better word. I am amazed that this woman wrote so many different things. Not counting her novels, of which there are many, Woolf wrote biographies, a memoir, essays, and short stories. I couldn’t help but find myself wondering, where did she find all the time to write all these things? Furthermore, she didn’t just produce a story or an opinion, she produced work, or art. Delving into a few of her works—some essays and two short stories—I realized this woman was brilliant. There are moments when I find myself thinking, “I have absolutely no idea what she is talking about” or “Where did that come from and how does it pertain to what I just read?” Her style comes off at times as erratic and dare I say, spastic? But it wouldn’t be fair to just leave the description at just that. Yes, in my personal opinion, I find her writing a bit hard to follow. But there are also those special moments that I’ve already encountered during reading that make me wonder if I have finally gotten the purpose of her writing style? Of course, a minute later I’m thrown off the boat again and I don’t know how she got to that place in her mind. I have felt like I am taking a tour of her mind as I read. She doesn’t seem to take a breath, and therefore one gets the sensation that they are a true part of her mind. I suppose people like to think that any reading is a sort of delving into the author’s mind. It is their inner voice put onto paper. I would agree with this but after reading Woolf I wonder how many authors would be embarrassed to say that they tried to let their true self and thoughts into their work. Going back to how Woolf found the time to construct so many great works, I have concluded that A) she is very smart—beyond smart, perhaps brilliant…and B) she wrote down exactly what she was thinking and didn’t try to hide any nitty gritty aspect. If you write down what a brilliant person is thinking one would assume it would come out brilliant, right?

So there are my premature ramblings on Woolf’s writing. I have just begun my reading so don’t judge my opinions too quickly.

The Mark on the Wall was a mixture of confusion and enjoyment. Usually those two don’t run hand in hand, but I promise that’s how I felt at the end of my reading. When I was finished my first thought was, “What was that about?” Obviously, it was about a mark on the wall, if one wants to be just literal. But I don’t think it was really about a mark on the wall at all. Yes, the mark was there, but the mark had nothing to do with the purpose of the story. Whoever the narrator is, they are thinking, and those thoughts go up, down, and all around. Each thought springs from the mark, but they have nothing to do with the mark. The story reminded me of the power of the human mind. Our imagination is so crazy and different in each person. I think to be confused by the narrators thoughts would be appropriate because it isn’t your thoughts! Every person is thinking something different, and how we view the world is in our own perception that we have created. Each perception is original and therefore amazing. If people could actually record their own thoughts and were not embarrassed to let everything they think be put down onto paper, I think everyone would be confusing and quite odd. Perhaps some are odder than others, but I bet in their minds they make perfect sense. It all comes from the millions of moments and seconds that make up our entire being. Our thoughts are a combination of moments and our unique personality. The Mark on the Wall revealed to me the power of the human mind and just how differently we all interpret the world.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Introduction Post

I must admit that coming into this class I feel that I am at a disadvantage. In the beginning, I had absolutely no knowledge of Virginia Woolf. Of course I had heard of her since I am somewhat involved in the literary world (being an English major and what not), but that was about as far as my knowledge went. At this point in time, I have read a biography about her and her memoir. Also, I have dipped into Jacob’s Room so that I could see her style firsthand. I was told that her style is confusing and somewhat crazy. I didn’t exactly know what that meant until I had begun my reading of Jacob’s Room. Her style does seem erratic and sometimes I didn’t understand where she was or what she was talking about.

Even so, I must admit that my first dip into the pond got me excited. Looking at all the different conferences and articles written about her and her works made me feel curious. Obviously, this woman’s talent is very profound and there is so much depth to her writing. It amazed me that there is a conference just about nature. The idea that there is a lot of dog imagery throughout her work seemed a bit strange, but it’s exciting that her work has so many small pieces.

I was surprised when I found out that there were Virginia Woolf societies. When I learned that there was a group in Japan I almost laughed. I’m happy that literature still has the power to involve so many people and bring them together from such vast distances. In today’s world, a lot of people scoff at the idea of “wasting” your money on an English major. However, just seeing these different groups that are still so inspired and involved in this woman’s work makes me realize why the study of literature is so important. The fact that Woolf’s literature has remained so important and fascinating to people all over the world emphasizes the importance of expression.

Another thing that I’m excited about learning from Woolf is the beginning of women’s freedom and suffrage. The conference on “Women Walking the City” was interesting to me because it reminded me that this was the first time in history that women could be alone and not be considered a fallen woman. For modern women, we don’t realize or relish the opportunity of independence. We forget that women of the past were essentially trapped, even when they went into public. I’m sure the newfound freedom is echoed in Woolf’s work and her experiences with it.

All in all, I’m nervous that I will miss many important points and details in Woolf’s work. She seems so intelligent and grand that I worry I won’t be intelligent enough to fully grasp her style. Even so, I plan to try, so wish me luck!