Week 9, Blog 4 – Virginia Woolf believes in the power of the imagination to liberate human beings from the shackles of their enslavement. Do you have a comment on this statement?

Virginia Woolf’s belief that the power of imagination holds the key to personal liberation of mental entrapment is a valid statement and one that I agree with. Imagination is defined as “the power or capacity to form internal images or ideas… and situations not actually present to the senses” (“imagination, n.”, OED). Therefore, it can be interpreted as another level of reality. An entrancing state that holds the key to innovation, as the human mind is open to limitless possibilities.   

“There is the strange power we have of changing facts by the force of the imagination.”

– Virginia Woolf

Woolf’s stream-of-consciousness style of writing exposes the power of imagination, revealing her inner-most thoughts through a continuous flow. This is particularly evident, within her novel ‘Mrs Dalloway’ (1925), through the character of Septimus Warren Smith. He perceives the world in a different manner than most, as a result of suffering from ‘shell-shock’ (PTSD) after war. Medical professionals and his wife fail to recognise his condition as they are enslaved by the constructs of society. Thus, Septimus’ mind is a powerful tool enabling him to escape his internal suffering and experience mental freedom. 

Similarly to Septimus, society today has become shackled to the effects of coronavirus. We have faced societal restrictions and had to transition to online learning and work, making it difficult to escape the continuous mundane routine forced upon us. Wake up, attend virtual classes, go to work, come home, complete uni assessments, sleep, repeat. Therefore, by utilising the power of our imagination in such difficult and mentally straining times, it motivates us to look forward towards the future, away from the shackles of today. 

Thus, Woolf’s belief in the power of imagination is a significant tool which individuals can reflect on and use as a way to let go of suffering and instead, become liberated. It allows us to envision an idealistic world we one day want to become a reality. 

Definition sourced from: “imagination, n.” OED Online, Oxford University Press, September 2020, http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/91643. Accessed 16 September 2020.

Quote sourced from: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/300007-there-is-the-strange-power-we-have-of-changing-facts

GIF sourced from: https://tenor.com/view/spongebob-squarepants-spongebob-imagination-rainbow-happy-gif-4596954

Video sourced from: https://youtu.be/LIYNk4ARUR8

2 thoughts on “Week 9, Blog 4 – Virginia Woolf believes in the power of the imagination to liberate human beings from the shackles of their enslavement. Do you have a comment on this statement?

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