This essay will examine how Virginia Woolf manipulates and attaches symbolic value to time in her novel, Orlando. This essay will begin with explaining Woolf's writing style in Orlando and move on to explaining how Woolf used time with regard to the past, present, and future. Furthermore this essay will explain how Orlando lived through many kings and queens as well as how nature aided the concept of time. There will also be symbols noted in this essay that will support the notion of time. According to Gudz (2008), in Woolf's management with time lied an explanation to her literary methods. The life of the human mind where mental time existed was resistant to conscious will and was freely moving. Woolf attempted to control the uncontrollable by primarily making use of fictional time. For an example, one of Woolf's characters remembers instances from the past and gets distracted in his thoughts; a clock strikes imaginary time and brings him back to the present which is the chronological time.
How Woolf treated time impacted all other relationships in Orlando. Woolf rejected a conservative way of looking at time where time is separated between the past, present, and the future. Presence in Orlando was dependent on what followed it. Woolf rejected the idea of the exclusive moment. Woolf's depiction of the change between the eighteenth century and the nineteenth century mocks our conception of the exclusive moment when it was stated that "all was darkness; all was doubt; all was confusion. The Eighteenth century was over; the Nineteenth century had begun" (Woolf, 2000, p.156). As Orlando entered the nineteenth century, she observed "widow's weeds and bridal veils; hooked on to other excrescences were crystal palaces, bassinettes, military helmets, memorial wreaths, trousers, whiskers, wedding cakes, cannon, Christmas trees, telescopes, extinct monsters, globes, maps, elephants, and mathematical instruments" (Woolf, 2000, p.