Orhan Pamuk vs. Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf vs. Orhan Pamuk Aykut Can TURKMEN Petroleum – Gas University of Ploiesti Abstract: The aim of this paper is to compare and indicate the affect of “stream of consciousness”. Moreover, I tried to show the (dis)similarities between these two important writers. In this paper, for Orhan Pamuk, I focused on the novel which is called “Sessiz Ev (Silent House)”. Key words: stream of consciousness, omniscient point of view, third person narration, impact of the time, lives’ reflections and individuality. The usage of Stream of Consciousness Stream of consciousness was used by these two writers perfectly.

In the novel of Virginia Woolf, “The Waves” and in the novel of Orhan Pamuk, “Sessiz Ev (Silent House)”, there are plenty of examples in these books. For “Sessiz Ev”, at the beginning of the book a character’s consciousness, called Recep, is transmitted without details and the descriptions by Orhan Pamuk. Pamuk wanted the readers to have fun and to see the consciousness of a person ironically. As in the essay of Virginia Woolf “Modern Fiction” she describes life as an incessant shower of innumerable atoms and also she indicates that a modern writer must record the atoms as they fall upon the mind in which they fall.

This thought helps us to explain stream of consciousness. Pamuk shared the same idea with Woolf. Pamuk preferred to give an impression to the reader rather than summarizing what the character see, think and do or reporting from the outside in clear sentences like Virginia Woolf. In “The Waves”, Woolf is trying to give a more realistic picture of psychology than had ever before been presented in fiction. She was the most important writer for the fiction and for the stream of consciousness. Stream of consciousness is the most important technique was used by Woolf to approach her works such as The Waves.

The Impact of the Lives & Time in the novels The novels are the reflections of the writers’ lives mostly. For these two novels, Sessiz Ev and The Waves, I can say that Woolf and Pamuk wrote their own lives but fiction. Pamuk said that he had written his own life and the characters were his steps on the life. Woolf also reflected her life to her novel, The Waves. She also wrote her experiences with the help of her own characters in the book. While “The Waves” was taking place in one day and the all steps of one day, “Sessiz Ev” took place in one week.

This means that Pamuk used the time undetailed but Woolf used the time so detailed. Woolf used the time like a life and each step of the day is the part of a life. For example, the beginning of the novel is early morning and this time of the day represents the childhood. But Pamuk doesn’t do this he prefers to use the time long. Pamuk uses the time with the clock but Woolf doesn’t use the time as it is. In “Sessiz Ev” there is many examples like “It’s ten to eleven”, “It’s nine” and “It’s five past nine”. In “The Waves”, Woolf doesn’t do as Pamuk does.

She prefers to say the time by descriptions rather than saying the time directly. Woolf describes nature at the beginning of each part of the book. They are called as interludes. These interludes help the reader to understand the time and the step of the day and life. She uses the words to say the time like: “sunrise”, “noon”, “evening”, “night” and “midnight”. The individuality is another most important point for Woolf. Woolf uses “individual” peculiarly in The Waves. Rhoda claims to “hate all details of the individual life” and later says, “I must go through the antics of the individual.

I must start when you pluck at me with your children, your poems, your chilblains or whatever it is you do and suffer. But I’m not deluded. ” She showed us her thought about individuality with these sentences. She uses the word “individuality” to signify the mundane and trivial concerns of life rather than originality. Woolf persistently identifies her characters all together throughout The Waves in a manner that is consistently collectivized rather than realistic, and the six friends become facets of personalities and visions of the world before and beyond any existence as people.

Woolf explains in one letter the characters’ duty in the book like; “The six characters were supposed to be one. I’m getting old myself – I shall be fifty next year; and I come to feel more and more how difficult it is to collect oneself into one Virginia; even though the special Virginia in whose body I live for the moment is violently susceptible to all sorts of separate feelings. Therefore, I wanted to give the sense of continuity” (Letters IV, 397) Here, with the help of the letter from Woolf, I can say that the book was totally about herself and her experiences in her life.

While Pamuk is telling 1980s in Turkey, he tells plenty of stories based on his own stories. He gives examples from his past and his own family’s past while writing this book. The Point of View, Narration and Symbol Third person narration is the most used mode in the 20th century. Woolf and Pamuk used the third person narration in these two novels. Because of the affect of stream of consciousness they used omniscient point of view, because the best way to show the conscious was the third person narration. Third person narrators are usually omniscient- stand outside of the events and they appear under the form of narrating voice.

The omniscient has unlimited knowledge. That’s why they are highly reliable and very significant. They have privilege access to the character’s inner thoughts and feelings. In these two novels, there are many narrators, five in “Sessiz Ev” and six in “The Waves”. The writers used this kind of narration to preserve the subjectivity. Subjectivity was the one of the most important point in 20th century. Each character tells their own story and this affects the point of view of the books. A new point of view, which lets each character speak, is one of the most important aspects for the readers.

When the readers see that each character says the things about themselves on their own, the readers like it, because this shows the equality and the individuality to them. They take an advantage to criticize the characters and to make empathy. Pamuk wanted the readers to criticize them and to find something in the book belong to them. He gave many examples from his life and he wanted the readers to compare with theirs. This was a good method to impress the readers. The waves are the most important symbol in “The Waves”.

When the characters/narrators are children, the fist thing that they hear in the morning is the sound of the waves. From that point the waves became the background noise of their day. Then, they were used as the passage of the time. The Apple Tree, is also a symbol in the book, echoes the apple tree from the Book of Genesis in the Bible, the fruit of which led Adam and Eve to knowledge and expulsion from Eden. Commentary In my opinion, both The Waves and Sessiz Ev are good examples to 20th century. They were so impressive books and well-written books.

I expected the same things from the books but they shocked me. For example; I waited the grandmother from Sessiz Ev to die, but she didn’t. In stead of her Nilgun died. Grandmother is totally tradition and narrow minded person. She realised anything and this was so bad situation for me. Her black heart made me angry to her. I think the thing that Orhan Pamuk expected was this. I mean to make the reader comment and criticize the characters. I liked The Waves better than the Sessiz Ev, because it has the all aspects of the modernism. There were some traditions in the book but it was pretty little.

Pamuk created a kind of bridge between 20th and the 21st centuries. I found a lot of same things in my life, but I don’t like finding something in the book from my life. Maybe, the descriptions are so important for the writers but this is also a tradition for me. I didn’t like the descriptions part of these two books. For example; I liked the part which the dwarf takes place at the beginning. He goes to cinema. When the movie ends he tells the movie in six lines (in Turkish). That’s what I liked in the book, summarizing the event, movie or the life itself…

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