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Virginia Woolf: a Life of Tragedies

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“You cannot find peace by avoiding life” – Virginia Woolf, one of the most eminent writers of her time, during her life she suffered the loss of her parents as well as her siblings which led her to lose control of her mind, her mental illness did not prevent her from continuing to write numerous works of literature.

In our daily life, it is important to keep in mind the importance that we have in this world or in the life of our loved ones and the environment that surrounds us, finding harmony or peace with ourselves doing things correctly, it is a way to reach a high level of happiness, the same that will help us stand out in our daily work within all areas.

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There is no doubt that emotional stability is a great determinant in our life and in the decisions we make, mainly a person is most affected by conflicts, discussions or bad experiences with the family since they are the ones who contribute most to our life and well-being and when this is not the case, things begin to change and we begin to have problems in our behavior, in our work, we begin to see the world in different ways and make decisions that set our course, well if this causes family conflicts, let’s imagine now the loss of a loved one at a very early age, lack of care or a father or mother figure, can be the cause of a life fully of problems and internal and external conflicts, moments of emotional instability or mood swings sudden with the people around us, this can get worse over time since a negative personality is already acquired and often weak in any situation which would lead us to lose faith in humanity in life and for this reason want to end it.

All these problems or stages of our life are marked by logical and clear reasons that today can be studied and analyzed from different sciences or from different ways such as writing, which can be interpreted based on its content and form how we will express things. It is for this reason that today we will try to analyze and explain this type of scenario through an approach based on the life of a famous writer such as Virginia Woolf who has left us great teachings through her works and above all allows us to analyze to fullness the aforementioned issues.

Adeline Virginia Stephen was born on January 25, 1882 in London, her parents were Leslie Stephan and Julia Jackson, both previously widowed, they start their marriage in 1878 with four children, Leslie had one child, Laura from his first marriage and Julia had three Children, George, Gerald and Stella. From this marriage came Virginia, Vanessa, Thoby and Adrian. Leslie. Virginia Wolf comes from an intellectual family, her father “Sir Leslie Stephen, a famous scholar and agnostic philosopher who, among many literary occupations, was at one time editor of Cornhill Magazine and the Dictionary of National Biography.” (Encyclopedia of World Biography,381), the American poet and critic James Russell Lowell was her godfather, also her sister Vanessa who later became painter and married Clive Bell, an art critic.

During her childhood, Virginia struggled to start talking what worries her parents, but Virginia started learning to talk properly when she was three years old, “words, when they came, were to be then, and for the rest of her life, her chosen weapons” (Quentin, Pg. 22). Virginia began writing at an early age, Virginia wrote in her family’s newspaper The Hyde Park Gate News when she was nine years old about her siblings.

Virginia had a childhood surrounded by security and happiness because she did what she liked most about writing, but her happiness would soon have her first breakdown, “In May 1825 Julia Stephen died and was the end of all security and of most happiness. The shock drove Virginia out of her mind” (Woolf, pg. IV). the death of her mother had a great impact on her mental health which caused Virginia to feeling depressed, but this was not the only loss of a loved one who would suffer Virginia two years later Stella, her older half-sister died suddenly but there was still more to come and now it would be her father’s death in 1904 which drove Virginia to her next episode of madness.

After her father’s death Virginia and her siblings moved to what would be their new home located at 46 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, where once again his destiny would change with death of Thoby her brother in 1906 after traveling to Greece with Vanessa who also was sick. “To Virginia it seemed not only that she had lost a much loved and much admired brother but that she had also lost a sister, for Vanessa then married Clive Bell”. (Woolf, pg. XV).

However, her destiny would begin to change when she met who would later become her husband Leonard Woolf a writer and critic from Cambridge, Leonard was attending college together with her brother Thoby when they met in one of their meetings in Bloomsbury, he would not hesitate to leave all his accompaniments and work to marry Virginia. “After a period of long and agonizing doubt Virginia did in fact married him on 10 August 1912 and the marriage, despite the fact that Virginia was not sexually enthusiastic, was both happy and durable”. (Woolf, pg. xvii), this explains why the couple never had their own children.

Different hard episodes in her life affected Virginia to lose her mind and making her want to end her life. “In September 1913 she tried to kill herself. The recovery from this attack was painfully slow”. (Woolf, pg. xvii), due to this crisis her care was at the hands of a nurse day and night but this would not enough to keep her having suicidal thoughts, she committed suicide jumping of a bridge with stones in her pockets when she was 59 years old.

Nowadays her symptoms are associated as bipolar disorder, Virginia suffered mood swings from extreme depression to episodes of psychosis since she was an adolescence, at that time psychiatry was not within reach of providing help to Virginia.

Throughout her life, Virginia Woolf has created numerous novels, letters and her own personal diary where she expressed her entire inner world, her life full of tragedies, lost loved ones have made this author immortalized all her moods in her writings, that is why her husband Leonard after the death of Virginia decided that the world deserved to know the battle Virginia lived until the end of her days and titled it as A Writer’s Diary, also Virginia published others works such as To the Lighthouse The Voyage, Night and Day, A Room of One’s Own among others.

A life full of tragedies at a very young age, bipolar disorders, until reaching a mental illness that caused her to take her own life despite having found some peace next to her husband, letting us know and understand that in Many times there are no solutions to our problems, but also that death is not the only way to achieve personal tranquility, problems may not be completely eliminated, but they can be lightened or learned to live with them in a different way.

Bibliography

  1. Bell, Q., & Briggs, J. (1972). Virginia Woolf: a biography (Vol. 1). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  2. Woolf, V. (2003). A writer’s diary: being extracts from the diary of Virginia Woolf. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  3. Woolf, V. (1980). The Diary of Virginia Woolf. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  4. Marcus, L. (2004). Virginia Woolf (Vol. 2nd ed). Tavistock, Devon, U.K.: Liverpool University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1886069&site=ehost-live
  5. Dalsimer, K. (2001). Virginia Woolf: Becoming a writer. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com
  6. Viviane Forrester, J. G. (2015). Virginia Woolf: A Portrait. [Place of publication not identified]: Columbia University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1044297&site=ehost-live
  7. https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.161.5.809

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