An Analysis of Language in Virginia Woolf's Memoirs

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It has been said that we do not know the true value of our moments until they have undergone the test of memory. In her memoirs Virginia Woolf dwells upon treasured memories of a fishing day in her childhood in the company of her dad and brother. This is not a memory lingering at the back of her mind, No. It is one that she vividly contemplates, remembering every word, every detail. Her use of language effectively conveys the lasting significance of these moments from her past.

Woolf's use of specific language authenticates the autobiographical elements of her piece. Her use of transitions such as "once" and "one day" demonstrate that she is not talking about just any memory; she is able to recreate exact dialogue which captures the fact that her memories are significant.

As she describes the fishing trip, her use of commas and semicolons do not allow the reader to stop, which reveals that she is enraptured in the experience. "How can I convey the excitement?" testifies to the immense passion that she felt towards fishing and allow the reader to relate on a personal level. Woolf uses figurative language to descrive the many aspects of the event. She uses both simile and personification in her depiction of the jellyfish: "…the sea was full of pale jellyfish, like lamps, with streaming hair…"projecting a childish attitude and establishing the experience as a bright one. This is also manifested by her focus on color: "…his blue eyes, very blue…" it's almost like she is zooming in, as if she were watching the entire episode through a video camera.

The structure and movements of the paragraphs reveals how Woolf's experience began as simple events but gained significance later. The second paragraph is devoted to the "perfect lesson" that she learned, which led to her metamorphosis. This paragraph is of paramount importance as it encompasses the main idea of the piece. Woolf accurately quotes her father's words in lines 23-25 despite the fact...
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