Always a theme with Virginia Woolf. And not in subtle ways, either. At one point Orlando explicitly wants "life and a lover." Orlando’s journey throughout the novel oscillates between a desire to die and a desire to live. The character experiences many highs and lows throughout the novel, and must confront the difficulties of reconciling past and present, the constraints of gender, and the demands of society.
Orlando deliberately crafts a novel about life, creation, and existence that does not rely on the standard themes of great deeds or love, but rather upon life as an intellectual enterprise.