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!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Miss Ormerod

A whirlwind, a snapshot of one woman's life. A brief glimpse that is meant to capture a whole person. The greatness of life and also the...perhaps existentialist reality of life all at the same time?

My thoughts are confused and I just had to write my first immediate thoughts after reading.

This will be the last time that I claim that I'm confused, but I am. I can't help it. The story was so jumbled, which makes me angry because I know in the madness there is so much sanity. Her writing is a puzzle with missing pieces and she expects you to figure out the intention of the lost fragments. The fact that one can even realize what she must be intending proves her great ability at capturing human nature. Her depictions of people's actions and reactions are so dead-on to reality that it gives me chills. There are those moments in life where you find yourself having an epiphany about something-I'm not sure what the moment is, it's different for everyone-but they don't happen that often and they are hard to describe and translate to the world. Woolf seems to have the genius of so many epiphanies and the ability to transcribe them and then the power to jumble them up into a riddle to play with our minds.

Miss Ormerod's life was made from the insects and the insects made her. They are interchangeable. At once, the insects are nothing. Their lives are pointless. The death of the swimming beetle means nothing. Even as he is ripped apart, it is just another part of nature. Miss Ormerod was an important figure in the insect world, and yet when she dies she will just be another fragment of time. Her true identity lost. All that is left is her name and her accomplishments, her contributions, but nothing else. The woman is gone forever. Her grave stone epigraph might signify her connection with the insects and how they will be the only thing that will be left of her in the endless years to come. I believe Woolf wanted her Eleanor to know the reality of death and the inevitable: at one point you will be forgotten and therefore your existence gone.

There is a morbid tone to the story. I wouldn't want to throw out the word depressing, instead I feel a detachment. It is an acceptance of reality and the perhaps the true meaning behind life. A person’s life is fleeting and another small part of the world. But there is the reassurance that Eleanor followed her own path. Her happiness came from her passion and therefore even if she is forgotten in the sands of time, she has still won. As people mocked her climbing in trees and found her odd, they weren't realizing that they were losing the precious moments of their life. Their conformity and the fear of criticisms and judgments seem to signify a waste.

Woolf’s fascination with nature and the connections that many people are blind to is very interesting. Woolf knows how we are all so much more connected than the average person can realize. It is obvious that she respected Ormerod for her passion.

The separation of the sections, or the “snapshots”, as we talked about earlier in class, are the brief insights we are allowed of Miss Ormerod. The reader is allowed so much and yet so little. Actions and dialogue let the reader learn the character, we are given nothing for free. Woolf wants to make her reader work, which I find myself loving and hating all at the same time. I have never been so frustrated by a writer before in my lifetime. I think I actually get mad at her sometimes.

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