Study Guide

Kew Gardens Parasol

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The parasol belongs to Trissie, the young girl who appears near the conclusion of the story, and it plays an important role in explaining the relationship between her and the young man.

<em>The couple stood still on the edge of the flower bed, and together pressed the end of her parasol deep down into the soft earth. The action and the fact that his hand rested on the top of hers expressed their feelings in a strange way, as these short insignificant words also expressed something, words with short wings for their heavy body of meaning, inadequate to carry them far and thus alighting awkwardly upon the very common objects that surrounded them, and were to their inexperienced touch so massive; but who knows (so they thought as they pressed the parasol into the earth) what precipices aren't concealed in them, or what slopes of ice don't shine in the sun on the other side?</em> (26)

The young couple is anxious about their budding romance and uncertain about how to proceed. The parasol itself does not carry tremendous symbolic meaning, but their actions with it do: in the image of them frozen in the garden, with his hand on top of hers, pressing the parasol down into the earth, Woolf communicates their desire, awkwardness, and uncertainty. <em>Ah, the beauty of young love.</em>

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