Study Guide

Kew Gardens Narrator Point of View

By Virginia Woolf

Narrator Point of View

Third Person (Omniscient)

The narrative focuses on the flowerbed and the characters that pass by it, weaving in and out of the minds of numerous individuals to allow us brief insights into their thoughts and passing knowledge of their conversation and interactions. When we read the story, it's almost like we're some type of mind-reading ghost: all seeing, but invisible.

The narrator also spends considerable time providing us with objective descriptions of the characters' appearances, and also of the larger setting. We are given precise portrayals of the flowerbed, the weather, the gradual movements and deliberations of the snail, and the general movement of human bodies through the gardens:

Thus one couple after another with much the same irregular and aimless movement passed the flower-bed and were enveloped in layer after layer of green blue vapour, in which at first their bodies had substance and a dash of colour, but later both substance and colour dissolved in the green-blue atmosphere. (29)

This quote is a kind of "summing up" of the whole scene. It occurs in the final paragraph, when Woolf zooms out from particular characters in order to give us a more encompassing vision of the garden. Even then, it still manages to retain an amazing amount of detail—figures meandering past flowers, enveloped in vapors of color and dissolving into the scene as they recede further into the lush atmosphere.