From the early death of her mother at age thirteen to the sexual abuse from her own half- brothers, many personal events contributed to the numerous mental and emotional breakdowns that made Virginia Woolf, “one of the greatest novelists of the twentieth century…” (“Virginia Woolf” n.page.). Woolf’s, “Kew Gardens”, is a classic short story written in 1919 that shows the importance of women’s rights and illustrates that even when you are surrounded by people, you still can feel empty and alone. This significant story reflects that Virginia’s life was filled with depression, even though she was a great success and had a happy marriage.
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Before long, their new house became the gathering place where her friends and other young people would meet “to discuss art, politics, and literature” (Smith 134). Here at these meetings, she met Leonard Woolf, an author, politician and economist, who she married in 1912. Years later, she and her husband “[purchased] a small printing press as a hobby and therapy; The Hogarth Press became a business in 1922 and Virginia published nearly all of her work with the press since 1921” (Fajardo-Acosta n.page). Although Virginia did not experience a professional education, she never gave up and leaped over her mental and physical obstacles to achieve her dream of becoming a writer and a success.
The Stephen family was a pleasant family filled with knowledge, books, and plenty of children. Both of Virginia’s parents, Julia and Leslie, were married and widowed before and had children from their previous relationships. “Their combined household included eight children: Leslie's daughter from his first marriage, Julia's two sons and one daughter from her first marriage, and the four children (including Virginia) that they produced together” (Shmoop Editorial Team n.page). With such a large family and so many siblings, Virginia felt neglected from an early age. This neglect highly affected her when her mother died. At age thirteen Virginia, had her first emotional breakdown. The Shmoop Editorial Team states that after the death of her mother,:
Virginia's half-sister Stella Duckworth stepped in to run the household, but then she too died just two years later at the age of 28. Virginia took both of these losses hard. Then, in 1904, her father died after a long battle with stomach cancer. This prompted Virginia's first suicide attempt; she was briefly hospitalized for mental illness after trying to jump out of a window. She eventually recovered, but it was a preview of the dramatic mood swings and internal demons she would grapple with later in life. (“Virginia Woolf: Childhood” n.page.)
Virginia Woolf was very unstable throughout her life. “Her breakdowns and subsequent recurring depressive periods, modern scholars (including her nephew and biographer, Quentin Bell) have suggested, were also influenced by the sexual abuse she and Vanessa were subjected to by their half-brothers George and Gerald Duckworth” (Wikipedia contributors n.page) She was very close to her siblings, and being molested and sexually abused by her half-brothers really took a mental toll on her. “In 'Sketch of the Past' (1939) she wrote: ‘I can remember the feel of his hands going under my clothes… I remember how I hoped that he would stop; … But he did not stop.’” (Liukkonen n.page). The sexual abuse she received from her step- brother made her a very strong woman and a persuasive feminist later on in life.
Even though Virginia Woolf came from a wealthy family with plenty of knowledge and love, the sexual abuse she received and the loss of her loved ones made Virginia feel more and...