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One of the greatest female authors of all time, Virginia Woolf, produced a body of writing respected worldwide. Driven by uncontrollable circumstances and internal conflict, her life was cut short by suicide. Her role in feminism, along with the personal relationships in her life, influenced her literary works.
Virginia's relationships throughout her life contributed, not only to her literature, but the quality of her life as well. Perhaps the greatest influence in Virginia's life is her mother, Julia Stephen. "Julia Stephen was the most arresting figure which her daughter [Virginia Woolf] tried to resurrect and preserve" (Gordon 4). Woolf, a manic-depressive, found herself constantly searching for approval. "Virginia needed her mother's approval in order to 'measure her own stature" (Bond 38). Battling with a sense of worthlessness, Virginia's mother helped her temporarily rid herself of self-criticism and doubt. This however was short-lived. When Mrs. Stephen rejected Virginia, she felt her mother's disapproval directly related to the quality of her writing. "Virginia Woolf could not bear to reread anything she had written… Mrs. Stephen's rejection of Virginia may have been the paradigm of her failure to meet her own standards" (Bond 39). With the death of her mother Woolf used her novel, To the Lighthouse to "reconstruct and preserve" the memories that still remained. According to Woolf, "the character of Mrs. Ramsey in To the Lighthouse ...