Kew Gardens Essay

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Johnson teaches in the English Department at the University of Pennsylvania. In this essay, he examines how Woolf uses nuances of light and form to reflect national disharmonies that culminated at the end of the Victorian era.

In naming her story "Kew Gardens," Woolf chose a specific space to present the melancholy scenes of the characters' conversation. While the garden might connote an Edenic space in which human beings realize a natural completeness or contentment, Woolf's Kew Gardens transforms, as the story progresses, into a mere screen across which pass the transient presences of individuals. By understanding the local Kew history, one better understands the thematic irony of Woolf's garden.

Kew Gardens is outside London on the south bank of the Thames, covering over two hundred and eighty acres. It was established in the late seventeenth century and its history parallels changes in England's status as an empire...

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This section contains 1,971 words
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Kew Gardens from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.