The path to the androgynous relationship: Balance and disillusionment in three of Virginia Woolf's novels
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This project is concerned with Virginia Woolf’s understanding of androgyny and attempts to answer questions regarding why androgyny is important for an artist seeking to reach the height of his or her creative capacities as Woolf theorizes in A Room of One’s Own . Through extensive close reading of the works discussed in this project, I trace Woolf’s ideas about androgyny in three of her novels published prior to her theoretical statement about androgyny in A Room of One’s Own . Against a backdrop of existing criticism, I illuminate Woolf’s understanding of androgyny as balance between all opposing forces that exist in society, with the binary opposition between man and woman being privileged due to its pervasiveness in society and importance to Woolf’s work. I trace Woolf’s understanding that the androgyny of one’s mind can be developed through complete self-trust, acceptance and love regardless of what society attempts to tell one about oneself, because each individual has characteristics which will inevitably go against what society deems appropriate for that individual. I draw out Woolf’s understanding that once one has developed an androgynous mind, one can reach the height of creativity through a relationship with another who has also developed an androgynous mind, because socially induced fears and insecurities regarding one’s self-worth diminish as socially implemented inequalities are brought to a point of balance marked by mutually supported and appreciated entities. Furthermore, this project illuminates Woolf’s understanding of the necessity of self-trust, acceptance and love in bringing one through moments of disillusionment, which are also necessary in finding an androgynous relationship.