Kew Gardens (Literature)
By Virginia Woolf
The first time I read this story…I had completely no idea what I was reading. It’s so…flat. You read people walking around the garden, telling their past, and a snail moving across a leaf. Besides, I read this story before I even took my first literature lesson, double trouble. But, after I had a discussion with my teacher and classmates, I can’t help but wonder how brilliant and interesting this story was!
Kew Garden was written after World War 1, so I personally think there are a lot of connection between them, especially we all know that England played an important part in WW1. There are a lot of metaphors inside the story, and only when you look deep down while you find the story interesting…otherwise? You will think this is just a horrible one, only with vivid description. Now, where should we start? Let’s start with the snail. You might ask…”Really? A snail?” Yes, it’s a snail, and we had discussed it for an entire class. What did the snail represent? Personally, trace back to WW1, I think the snail is a metaphor to all people mentioned in Kew Gardens. Why? Take a look at its movement, it appeared whenever a couple was going to be introduced. The narrator described it’s movement in such a detail, especially the part that the snail being block by a green insect and how it decided it’s’ pass. Didn’t the snail looked exactly like those people? They talked about their past, tracing back their memories, and what the life might be without the war, and how they made their decision in such a time. Yes, some questioned me that none of their conversation mention “WW1,” BUT THE BACKGROUND!!!! BACKGROUND GUYS!!! Besides, it’s the best explanation to me that the snail metaphor those people about their life after WW1. While the others? They can’t explain it all, there are some great things about the others’ idea, but I can’t help but find out those little, tiny difference in the story. So, this is my best explanation.
Something rather than the snail? I think how the narrator described Kew Garden was rather interesting. In the beginning, the narrator focused on the entire garden, how the flowers looked like and those color. And then slightly moved to focus on the snail and people. At the end, our professor mentioned the part that “green blue” repeatedly appeared. After that, the entire focus turned back to the whole garden scene, or a bird-view scene. Imagine you’re watching a movie of Kew Garden, and what’s the favorite filming usage? Exactly. The director tends to focus on everything, and moved on to the vital part, till the end, everything became a blur and the entire view appeared again. I really love how Virginia Woolf described the story, it was quite a view to imagine. Perfect for reader who needs to imagine. I can totally paint a picture of this story…if my painting skilled is as good as my English skill. By the way, the ending “on the top of which the voices cried aloud and the petals of myriads of flowers flashed their colours into the air.” I really think this is a great scene to describe how the vitality of life blossom after the war.
So the smaller part…well…there are a lot to say. The most interesting part to me is Simon and Eleanor, where Eleanor mentioned “one’s happiness, one’s reality.” It’s such a complicated quote if you really wanted to go deep into it. What’s reality? What’s happiness? To me, traced back and force to Eleanor’s conversation, I’ll think that “one’s happiness” present “Doesn’t one always think of the past, in a garden with men and women lying under the tress?” and “For me, a kiss…” As for reality? “those men and women, those ghosts lying under the trees,…” Why would I make such a statement? Happiness’, well…often traced back to our past. It might be real, it might be a dream. But till the end, we all must go back to reality, just like those ”ghost” under the tree!!! To Eleanor, her happiness lied in the kiss and the past. As for her reality? Simon and herself walking under the tree.