Sparking: Orlando Chapter 5

1. What is the symbolism of the great cloud at the beginning of chapter five?

2. How does the industrial revolution conflict with the natural world, and how does this affect Orlando?

3. “Love, birth, and death were all swaddled in a variety of fine phrases. The sexes drew further and further apart. No open conversation was tolerated. Evasions and concealments were sedulously practised on both sides. And just as the ivy and the evergreen rioted in the damp earth outside, so did the same fertility show itself within” (168). Talk about it.

4. Who is Eusebius Chubb? Why was he introduced and killed off in the same paragraph? (168-169).

5. “’After all,’ she thought, getting up and going to the window, ‘nothing has changed’” (173). Is it true?

6. One example of Orlando transcending the impossible is apparent in her beautiful verse for “The Oak Tree” that was spontaneously composed. What are other instances where Orlando overcomes what she originally viewed to be impossible?

7. “Madam,” the man cried, leaping to the ground, “you’re hurt!” to which Orlando replies, “I’m dead, Sir!” (183). Why does Orlando proclaim that she is dead?

8. How does “A few minutes later, they became engaged. The morning after as they sat at breakfast, he told her his name” (183) represent the larger metanarrative of Woolf’s playing with time-ness?

9. What is the significance of “’The wind!’ he cried” (191) being its own line and then triggering a wedding?

10. Orlando searches for “life and a lover” throughout the novel. Does Shel fill Orlando’s desire for a lover, or is he just a husband?

11. Does Shel awaken Orlando from her self-proclaimed death, and therefore give her life?

12. As the chapter concludes, there is a whirl of post-matrimony emotion, “… and Orlando, standing there, cried out Marmaduke Bonthrop Shelmerdine! And he answered her Orlando! And the words went dashing and circling like wild hawks together among the belfries and higher and higher, further and further, faster and faster, they circled, till they crashed and fell in a shower of fragments to the ground; and she went in” (193). Talk about it.


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