Main Ideas

Symbols

Main Ideas Symbols

Clouds over London

The clouds over London which move in at the end of chapter four mark the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century. They symbolize the suffocation and oppressiveness Orlando feels in the Victorian age. Because the sunlight can never come in through the clouds, the characters live with a literal chill in their bones and a figurative chill in their hearts. The clouds indicate unhappiness at the oppressive nature of Victorian rules and social conventions, especially for women like Orlando.

Orlando's manor house

Orlando's large home is mentioned frequently throughout the novel. It appears as a static and safe element in a chaotic and changing world. The house symbolically has 365 bedrooms and fifty-two stairways (the number of days in a year, and the number of weeks in a year, respectively). It is significant that the house is marked by static, traditional measures of time, because the house provides regularity for Orlando, something she can always return to when she tires of her adventures in London or Turkey. Thus, it reminds the reader that while the narrative itself may skip over decades or centuries, Orlando continues to live within a framework. Time, as a concept constructed by her ancestors, encompasses Orlando and provides her a home.