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!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jacob's Room

I never really enjoyed Jacob’s Room. I didn’t want to necessarily say that when I first read it because I wasn’t sure if that’s how I would feel about all of Virginia’s novels. I’m actually glad that I can write about it now from a more, I don’t know, educated perspective? Looking back with more knowledge of Virginia’s work, I can see that much of my dislike probably came from her difficulty of establishing the narrator’s position. It was a beginning work for her, and she was still experimenting with the modern style. At certain points in the novel, it was hard to actually follow along with what was going on or who was saying what. She would transition from one character to another so quickly without enough literary clues that the whole process of reading the work became difficult. I can see why some of her critics didn’t enjoy Jacob’s Room. Obviously, she has amazing talent and the genius is there, it just needed some direction. I think Virginia just got so excited with letting herself be free and being able to try something so different she wasn’t worried about the average reading trying to follow along.
There is no doubt that Virginia’s greatest talent in life was capturing the human spirit or soul. The reader would be introduced to a stranger, like the woman on the train with Jacob, and we would only be given a short passage with her involved, but there would be such life involved. And not only that, but we are given something that every person can identify with. One gets the sense that in the end, as much as we might life to think that we are all so different, we are all very much alike. Of course we might have our own personal quirks and preferences, but we all share many qualities. Virginia has a way of finding those similarities between all people while at the same time showcasing how unique everyone can be. I think this is such an amazing talent because it’s hard to imagine how other people perceive the world. Perhaps the greatest difficulty for any writer would be forgetting their own self while writing. It’s a natural tendency for people to sympathize or insert their own experiences into everyday conversation, movie, and music, let alone your own novel! And Virginia is there, her experiences are there. We know that Jacob represents her brother and she describes him as she knew him.
As much as we get to know “strangers” in the novel, the reader never really knows Jacob. Everyone is trying to find Jacob and attach themselves onto this elusive and mysterious person. He is beautiful, but unknown in many ways. All of his women try to find a way into his heart, but even they can’t really reach him. Even as a child, while he is searching for creatures at the beach, his brother calls for him in vain while at the same time his mother wonders where he has gone. Everyone is trying to find him and they never do. It could be an allusion or metaphor for the loss of Jacob. He dies at so young of an age during the war. He dies before he even knows who he truly is or has had a chance to establish his place in the world.

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