“Wave” As a Metaphor for Sequence, Narrative and Identity in Virginia Woolf’s The Waves

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of English Translation, Islamic Azad University, Lahijan Branch, Lahijan, Iran


The Waves dramatizes the tension between sequence and non-sequence. The actual waves in the novel are utilized as a metaphor for narrative and will-to-identity in terms of their continuous, incessant and sequential movement, where one wave follows another to form a pattern. Virginia Woolf uses waves as an extended metaphor which stands for sequence because of their sequential movements. The individual identity of characters which stems from their language is formed through narrative and therefore, identity becomes an element of sequence and narrative since it entails the general rule of sequence in the past-present-future order. Bernard who is infatuated by his art of story-telling believes that sequence is everywhere and this sequence is metaphorised by the relentless movement of the waves. He openly links identity to the chain-like structure of sequential language. He claims that without this narrative pattern, he is “nothing,” i.e., he has no identity. The sequential pattern of the waves dissolves and dies out on the shore in complete silence. When waves rise and form a definite shape, they stand for self-constitution and when they crash into shapelessness and nothingness on the shore they stand for the dissipation and dissolution of identity. The present article through using descriptive-analytical method aimed to unfold woolf's charged metaphor of "wave" which presupposes Woolf’s concept of self-formation, identity and narrative and also signifies and creates a natural language based on music and rhythm


Main Subjects

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