Study Guide

Kew Gardens Youth

By Virginia Woolf

Youth

Youth bounces around "Kew Gardens" like the butterflies that float through the garden. It enters the story in several different ways: some characters reminisce about their youth, while other characters—children (like Hubert and Caroline) and adolescents (like the young couple)—represent the experience of youth. The garden setting itself (the blooming flowers, the flourishing animal and plant life) seems to possess an underlying correlation to the contemplation and representation of youth. Maybe it's the flowers—there's something fleetingly beautiful about a flower in bloom, similar to the fleeting beauty of youth. Or the fleeting deliciousness of a bag of kettle corn—it's always gone too soon. 

Questions About Youth

  1. Why do so many characters think about their youth?
  2. What is the relation between the theme of youth and the theme of nature in the story?
  3. What kind of language and what sorts of images and symbols are used in the story's discussion of youth?

Chew on This

The garden setting inspires several of the story's older characters to reminisce about memories of their youth.

The story draws a correlation between nature in its "prime" and humans in their "prime" (or youth). 

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