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, December 5, 2010

The Legacy

It was interesting to read The Legacy after I had read a critical article on it, (by Ann Lavine I believe, but don’t hold me to it). Usually, I’m the type of person that doesn’t like reading a critical analysis before (like reading the introductions to all of the novels we read) I read the work. I want to see if I pick up on things myself, and go into the reader unbiased. Sometimes if you read something with a pre-set idea you go into it looking for it. I suppose that’s kind of how my reading of The Legacy went for me. It’s interesting to look at it from the vantage point of who was wrong? Gilbert or Angela? Lavine had her class divide into two groups, one on Gilbert’s side and the other on Angela’s side. The big debate is over whether it was Gilbert’s fault that Angela resorted to adultery, or if Angela was still wrong because she committed the act regardless of reasons behind it. There is still another choice to be made though: what if both people are wrong? Lavine said that Woolf always wanted to portray multiple perspectives and there is never one answer to her writing. Woolf loved to portray different versions of reality because that is how it is for everyone: we are all living in our made up reality. The way that we interpret or view the world is completely different and our versions differ greatly. Woolf also liked to show the difference between women and men.
It can’t be denied that The Legacy is targeted towards male chauvinism. Gilbert reads Angela’s diary and is only interested in the passages that talk about him. Sadly, it seems like his attraction or feelings for Angela revolved around her looks and nothing of her mind. In fact, he remarks a few times that she wasn’t very intelligent and not thoughtful. Obviously, it’s the reverse because Angela produced multiple volumes of diaries. If she wasn’t thinking then why was she writing so much? Furthermore, a lot of her writing was about important issues in life, not just about men or frivolous vanities. Gilbert seems like the less intelligent of the two because all he can think about is himself. The only other time that he is interested in her entries is when they keep referring to B.M.
Going back to the question of who was right and who was wrong, I believe that it’s hard to make a decision. Of course, from Woolf’s portrayal of Gilbert the reader might immediately want to Angela’s side. Gilbert seems selfish and doesn’t respect anything about Angela except her beauty. He views her as a careless child and his view is obviously wrong. But it is important to also wonder if it isn’t entirely Gilbert’s fault. Yes, his personality has many faults, but is he not the product of his time? If men of his time period were taught to view women in this light then how could they rise above it and think progressively?

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