The Waves Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Describe in your own words the scene at the very beginning of Section 1, and offer an idea of why Woolf would begin this novel in such a way.

The sun is not yet risen, but its light is beginning to form on the horizon. The sea and sky are nearly indistinguishable, though as the light approaches they are separated on the horizon. The light slowly dissipates over the sea, and we begin to hear the sounds of birds chirping on land, but only sparingly. We are moved into a house, where we continue to hear the birds sing. Woolf likely begins the novel in this way as a method of creating a parallel occurrence. The reader quickly learns that each section begins with this kind of natural description, however noting that these vignettes have seemingly nothing to do with the novel's progression. As such, one should infer that she is attempting to draw a parallel between the passage of time in a single day with that of the passage of time over the course of an individual's life.

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