Kew Gardens Essay

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In the following excerpt, Oakland examines "Kew Gardens," revealing a progression of formal and thematic patterns in which "randomly individual activity has been given coherence, order, and optimism."

[It] is salutary to re-examine, against a background of Woolf's literary principles, what is actually being said in [ "Kew Gardens"], as well as how it is being said. For "Kew Gardens" is more than atmosphere, insubstantial impressionism or an experiment. Arguably, it is not an expression of meaningless life but, on the contrary, reveals a harmonious, organic optimism. The choice of such a short piece for close reading is appropriate, since it is perhaps more central to Woolf's fiction than has been generally accepted, and contains in embryo many of the issues of form, theme, content, character, plot and action which occupied her in all her work.

While these are, unfortunately, loaded terms in contemporary criticism, they are all symbiotically...

(read more from the Critical Essay #3 section)

This section contains 2,787 words
(approx. 7 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Kew Gardens Study Guide
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Kew Gardens from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.