This is one of the most obvious, but also the most
important, themes of "Kew Gardens." Woolf is pretty obsessed with
giving us the most precise details about the flowers, grasses, trees,
butterflies, and of course the snail. The language she uses to represent nature
makes it seem almost like a vivid, impressionistic painting through which the
characters walk. The natural world seems to inspire awe in not only the
narrator, but also in the characters themselves. The gardens offer them an
escape from city life and an opportunity to commune with nature. After reading
this story, we might consider Virginia the Original Hippie. What a tree-hugger!
Questions About Man and the Natural World
What kind of language is used to describe the natural world in "Kew Gardens"?
How does the natural world affect the moods, thoughts, and
behavior of the characters?
Why does Woolf spend two significant paragraphs describing a
What's the relationship between the humans in the garden and
the other creatures (butterflies, snail, etc.)?
Chew on This
Nature has an unusual affect upon the characters,
temporarily inspiring strange moods and reflections in them.
The characters' movements are compared to the movements of
butterflies, suggesting an affinity between the different creatures in the