Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Aaron Matz

Reader 2

Tessie Prakas

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© 2022 Meghan R Condas


In the novels of Virginia Woolf, the difficulties of deep intimacy are troubled by the limitations of language and the fear of shame and vulnerability. What can characters express, and do words have the ability to appropriately describe their feelings of love and desire? Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and The Waves grapple with the penetrability of the mind and the potential for shared thought between characters. In Mrs. Dalloway, Woolf utilizes Clarissa and her relationship with men to highlight how eroticism and affection are inhibited by shame. To evade the anxieties of articulating romantic feelings and sexual desires, Woolf posits that shared consciousness between characters is an avenue that fosters closeness with others. In To the Lighthouse, the intimate relationships between the Ramsays and Lily Briscoe uncover the potential for unity with others and the human desire to know others deeply. Woolf’s continued interest in questions of shared consciousness and a communion between reader, writer, and character pervade her novels, as demonstrated in her later novel, The Waves which primarily focuses on the potential for unity in body and mind.