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, October 25, 2010

The Waves and Rhoda

Our class was forewarned multiple times that Woolf’s The Waves would be a wild surf ride. On the back of the book it is proclaimed her masterpiece and greatest invention. I didn’t know what any of these statements meant specifically. The only detail that I was given was that Woolf broke away from any superimposed literary rules.
I didn’t take the warning (is that the right word?) too seriously. I planned on reading the introduction after I had dipped my toe into the waves first. Sometimes it’s fun to start out with no biases or expectations. It also seemed fitting for the book (I don’t think I can say novel) that was meant to be free of conventions.
I used the word “warning” above because The Waves is a tough read. Molly Hite speaks true when she says in the introduction that the language is not difficult, it’s the structure and the allusions/metaphors that can leave the reader quite confused. I don’t know whether or not to be comforted with the knowledge that most find the work difficult or to be hurt that I am what Leonard referred to as the, “common reader”. Oh well, I never presumed that I was on Woolf’s intellectual level; the generation of TV is not likely to produce the greatest genius.
Oh Rhoda, Rhoda, Rhoda…(sigh) I have been assigned to the darker part of the human psyche. What a depressing soul. But, in all honesty, for anyone that has dealt with depression or was close with someone who suffered from the disease, it’s a very accurate portrayal of what goes on within that person’s mind. It goes beyond mere awkwardness or shyness. Woolf captures the brutal beating that the depressed mind continually gives to the sufferer. It’s this self defeat and depreciation that never ends and it keeps chipping away at whatever resilience the person might be holding onto. The depressed person gets so caught up in the negative voice that permeates into every thought and situation that eventually they become lost within their own mind. Rhoda says, “…Susan and Jinny have faces; they are here. Their world is the real world.” The negative voice dictates so much of their life that the depressed person becomes so consumed within. Then they don’t know what to do when faced with reality. There is no doubt that Rhoda is terribly shy and self-conscious. She spends so much time dreaming that she doesn’t know what to do in social situations. But she makes sure to punish her awkward mistakes severely with constant personal negative thoughts.
Rhoda hates to see herself in the looking glass. Jinny doesn’t like to just see her head, but doesn’t mind when she can see herself full-length. They are allusions to how we see ourselves, and not just pertaining to how we feel about our physical self. Rhoda hates everything about herself. Her depression makes her see the negative side to everything. Her self-degradation is so intense that she imagines herself as being invisible with no face. Jinny’s interpretation of herself seems like the average healthy person’s response. She realizes she has some faults, but overall, she is content with the whole. She approaches her character in a reasonable, logical, and fair way. No one is perfect, but there are overriding good qualities that make the entire person something to be proud of. Again, like the other works, perception is everything. How a person sees and interprets the world means everything.

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