The Lady in the Looking Glass by Virginia Woolf

Before starting to read the story “The Lady in the Looking Glass”, we did some research based on the following criteria:

  1. Important facts about her life.
  2. Her influence on female writers.
  3. The techniques she introduced.

Who is Virginia Woolf?

  1. Biography

Virginia Woolf was born on the 25th of January 1982 in Kensington, England. As soon as she was born, she suffered from depression and bipolar disorder. She grew up in her father library in which she deeply fell in love with literature.
At the age of thirty, Virginia married a young writer from Cambridge called Leonard Woolf. She escalate quickly to the fame when she published a series of books called “L. And V. Woolf. At the end of her career, she had been the author of fifteen books. She was found drowned at Ouse river in Sussex, England at the age of sixty.

  1. Influence

Unlike many literary inspiring women, Woolf aimed to give credence to unspoken emotions and interpretations we experience daily. She did this not only by placing more traditionally feminine themes at the forefront of her stories but buy penning sentences with a cadence that revealed her inner workings. Woolf was too impressive to be ignored.

  1. Technique

She changes the point of view during the story. She uses chaotic and ordered writing to describe different situations. She uses alliteration, metaphors and personifications to intensify her work.

Circular story

Third person limited narrator (he could never penetrate the characters mind)

In the end Isabella becomes “the narrative voice”.

Opposites coexistence

Triggering event: One could not help looking

Conflict: she realizes she is empty

Resolution: the reader understands how lonely and depressed isabella is.

“One” and “people”

Isabella is any woman in the 19th century (no say at all)

She is just a prodiof society/ she was framed by society.


  • Isolation

  • Female (self)

  • Reality vs superficiality

  • Identity

  • Emptiness

  • Role of women in the 19th century

  • Individual and society

Metaphor of emptiness and mirror.

Motif: (recurrent symbols)

  • Mirror: it shows one self

  • Drawing room

  • Light: it illuminates reality

After this activity, our teacher told us to work over these questions, which can also be found in her blog.

I worked with Juana Perez Muñiz on the questions.

After working on this questions, we had to look for a picture of a room and the garden and compare it to the ones described in the story. This work was individual.
Resultado de imagen para messy room in the 1900s
Resultado de imagen para messy room and nice garden
I felt that this picture could illustrate the one described in the story since we can find in it the wooden and old furniture described by Virginia Woolf. Moreover, this room is completely chaotic and there is no sense of organisation, no one cares about putting things in their place. The picture of the garden contrasts this, as it did on the story, because it is completely the opposite, it is organised, well taken care of and it is pleasant to look at it.

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