Journey For Self-Fulfilment in Virginia Woolf’s The Waves

Turkey, ID LLCE2016-356;         Blaming some of the Edwardian novelists such as Mr Wells, Mr Bennett and Mr Galsworthy for being “materialists” (158) as they focus on the surface of the things and events at the expense of inner thoughts and inner meanings, Virginia Woolf in her essay “Modern Fiction” claims that “[l]ife is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; but a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end”(160). Being one of the “spiritual” writers as she claims in the above mentioned article, instead of delineating the outside world and giving the physical descriptions of her characters, Woolf wants to convey “the innermost flame” of people and events by making use of stream of consciousness technique, which allows her to traverse the minds of her characters to give their impressions. In her masterpiece The Waves (1931), by using stream of consciousness technique so successfully, instead of reporting their fragmented thoughts, Woolf enters into the minds of her characters, namely Susan, Jinny, Rhoda, Louis, Neville and Bernard, and reports their soliloquies, which follow one another as if the characters are speaking to each other. Like a “six-petalled flower” the characters in the book behave like the six facets of a human being, seeking something to satisfy themselves.  Due to problems they encounter in the modern world such as loneliness, and their doubts about their identities, all throughout the novel, the characters are in a journey in their lives in search of an identity and self-fulfilment. Each of the characters seeks this self-fulfilment in different areas such as writing, family, and sexual fulfilment. However, despite their struggle, they cannot manage to define a separate identity when they are on their own, as they can become a “whole” when they are together. Accordingly, the aim of this paper is to analyse the characters’ journey and struggle from childhood to middle age and even to death in search of self-fulfilment in Virginia Woolf’s The Waves

Key Words: Virginia Woolf, The Waves, stream of consciousness, journey and self-fulfilment.