A Current And Common Reading Of Virginia Woolf 's Novel The Waves

1870 Words Sep 29th, 2016 8 Pages
A current and common reading of Virginia Woolf’s experimental novel The Waves places the character of Bernard against his friends as a dominating force. The novel is noted for its pluralism. The six speaking characters in The Waves express themselves through short monologues, sharing nearly equal space with one another until the concluding section. It is over the final forty-four pages of the novel that Bernard is fully emphasized, the voices of Louis, Rhoda, Jinny, Neville, and Susan giving way to his alone.
It is this moment Gabrielle McIntire explores in her essay “Heteroglossia, Monologism, and Fascism: Bernard reads The Waves,” arguing for an understanding of both Bernard and the novel that is deeply influenced by Woolf’s anti-fascist sentiment. McIntire pieces together an understanding of Bernard as domineering, with a drive toward controlling and subsuming methods of expression. Bernard concludes The Waves with a singular and summarizing internal monologue. His friends, while physically absent, are fully realized in Bernard’s memories of their childhood together. Although his aptitude for storytelling is present throughout the entire text, in this last section of speech Bernard overcomes the established format of the novel, acting as the previously absent narrator. McIntire indicates this collapse of plurality as at once both enticing and dangerous, a synthesis of creative chaos into a single point of view. The Waves is certainly a novel in tension, and McIntire’s…

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