More Night Than Day: an Analysis of Virginia Woolf

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“More Night than Day; Virginia Woolf’s Love for Mary Datchet”

In Virginia Woolf’s “Night and Day”, we, as the reader, can examine various feminist themes throughout the novel. Even though, “Night and Day” is one of her more conventional novels, many of the issues fly in the face of traditional values and capitalizes on the female oppression that was present in that time era. Even though, this was one of her earlier works, I believe that her conventional structure was an intentional creation, as she was trying to make a point on literary tradition and feminism. In contrast to many of her later novels, like “To The Lighthouse”, which had much anti-structure and stream of consciousness, “Night and Day”, is full of carefully written dialogue and proportional description of character and setting. This deliberate act of structure is almost symbolism itself, and is the depiction of the idea of marriage in that decade. Marriage was a very meticulous and structured event, as the beginning of the book models, but toward the end, the dialogue begins to get a bit chaotic and incomplete, symbolizing a transition in the female parallels of Mary Datchet and Katherine Hillbery. And although the characters are seemingly foiled to be equal but opposite, Woolf’s favoritism for one character over another is evident; This not only reflects her own personal feministic opinion, but creates the illusion of a happy ending that begs the question, “Is ignorance really bliss?”

In the book, it is assumed that Katherine represents the female frustration of the decade and the indecision to succumb to her family values. She often questions engagement, and is apprehensive about abandoning her independence as a single woman. She also questions the sincerity in the happiness she is promised, and throughout the novel, the reader can surmise her general unfullfillment with her time period. Mary Datchet, is the other half of the parallel, but undergoes a slight intersection with...
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