Virginia Woolf knows from the beginning what Orlando learns in the end: to be an artist is to be a living metaphor-a self which is not static and discrete, but evolving and "capable of others," to quote Cixous (Laugh, 345). In Orlando, Woolf represents the realization of the artistic self as a "creative evolution" through time; Orlando experiences time as a duration, unlike her peers, which separates her from society and its moment-to-moment constitution of self through gender, allowing her to experiment-with gender masquerade and develop the sensibility with which she can create metaphor.
English Language and Literature
Herrman '95, Michele L., "The Living Metaphor of Orlando: Duration, Gender, and the Artistic Self" (1995). Honors Projects. Paper 16.