James Joyce and Virginia Woolf

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James Joyce and Virginia Woolf are synoptic authors of the Modernist period as they both represent the several of the innovations characteristic of that time. Character is the medium through which the techniques they employ work. In To the Lighthouse, Woolf presents such themes of alienation, the perspective of youth, and the search for meaning in life.


They can be specifically identified in such pieces as "The Dead," "The Sisters," and "Araby." For the two authors, the exploration of these themes and employment of these techniques are encased in a style of prose that impresses in its skilful use of the word as a probe to uncover the preoccupations and meditations of the human soul.
Stream of consciousness as a technique is characterized by the continued representation of thought inclusive of all its spirals and refractions, yet often without specific reference to agents of that influence on them. Thought becomes a convoluted thing, yet one which accurately represents the state of mind of the particular character. In To the Lighthouse, Woolf employs this in a scene in the first chapter when Mr. Ramsay and his wife are out walking together. Mr. Ramsay's thoughts begin with wishes that his wife should see him "gowned and hooded" and ends up a few lines later in a circus, with "twenty performing seals" (15). The effect of the passage from one image to another seems calculated to display the pretensions of academia, the superficiality of the garb, which obscure the true meaning of study and a life dedicated to it. ...
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