by Virginia Woolf
Orlando Man and the Natural World Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
No one showed an instant's suspicion that Orlando was not the Orlando they had known. If any doubt there was in the human mind the action of the deer and the dogs would have been enough to dispel it, for the dumb creatures, as is well known, are far better judges both of identity and character than we are. (4.21)
This dovetails nicely with the elevated place nature holds in Orlando. While humans may be fallible and inconstant, nature never is.
Couples trudged and plodded in the middle of the road indissolubly linked together. The woman's right hand was invariably passed through the man's left and her fingers were firmly gripped by his. […] Orlando could only suppose that some new discovery had been made about the race; that they were somehow stuck together, couple after couple, but who had made it and when, she could not guess. It did not seem to be Nature. She looked at the doves and the rabbits and the elk-hounds and she could not see that Nature had changed her ways or mended them, since the time of Elizabeth at least. There was no indissoluble alliance among the brutes that she could see. (5.26)
This passage supports the notion that nature is constant and never changing. Secondly, the passage implies that humans do not obey the laws of nature in Orlando; humanity and nature are separate and distinct.
For the first time in her life she turned with violence against nature. Elk-hounds and rose bushes were about her in profusion. But elk-hounds and rose bushes can none of them read. It is a lamentable oversight on the part of Providence which had never struck her before. Human beings alone are thus gifted. (6.22)
This is the one moment in the novel when nature is represented in a negative light and humans in a positive light.