Hives, Knots, Parties, and Carnations: The Role of the Isolated Self and the Creation of Unity in Four Novels of Virginia Woolf (Project Summary)

After about one hundred hours of research, I have completed my paper. This research process was a wonderful learning experience, and it helped me learn how to narrow down my topic and write on several novels at once.

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Narrowing My Focus and Moving Forward with Virginia Woolf (Update #2)

     Research, as I have often been told and am now experiencing, is a process. Part of that process is narrowing the focus of one’s research question in order to more properly convey the information one has learned and the implications one draws from said information. In my previous blog post, I discussed my plan to investigate symbols of unattainable goals as they relate to the solitary, individual self in the works of Woolf and Beckett. However, in order to further narrow my research topic, I have decided to cut Samuel Beckett’s work from my research. Instead, I will focus only on Virginia Woolf.

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The Unattainable in the Works of Virginia Woolf and Samuel Beckett: Altering My Focus (Update #1)

      I am entering my third week of researching the works of Virginia Woolf and Samuel Beckett. I have read the Beckett trilogy, including the books Molloy, Malone Dies, and The Unnamable, and I have also read Woolf’s novels, The Waves, Between the Acts, and To the Lighthouse. I am currently reading Woolf’s The Voyage Out. I still need to re-read Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot, and read his novels, How It Is and Watt. Of Woolf’s work, I still need to read The Years.

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Virginia Woolf and Samuel Beckett: Narrative Styles and the Unattainable

The purpose of this research project is to delve into the works of Virginia Woolf and Samuel Beckett in order to answer the question: How do their narratives styles compare, and to what extent is the notion of the unattainable carried throughout their works? Both authors wrote in post-war periods. Woolf wrote during and after World War I, and Beckett wrote after World War II. Both write their novels from deep within the psyches of their characters, using stream of consciousness as their narrative voice. I want to investigate to what extent the wars they experienced led to this type of narrative style. I also plan to research if the notion of the unattainable, seen particularly in Woolf’s novel, To the Lighthouse, and Beckett’s play, Waiting for Godot, was also influenced by a post-war mindset, and if it is related to the psychological narrative technique. I will conduct my research over a period of four weeks. Within this time, I will read a selection of the works of Woolf and Beckett. Of Woolf’s repertoire, I will study To the Lighthouse, The Waves, The Voyage Out, The Years, and Between the Acts. Of Beckett’s works I will study Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable, Waiting for Godot, Watt, How It Is, and possibly Murphy. I will also utilize scholarly articles to provide deeper insight into these works. By the end of my research, I will compile my findings into a research paper that answers my research question. This research will provide help to provide insight into the mindset of the post-war artist, and, by extension, society in these periods of conflict and reconstruction.