Rhoda’s Non-Identity in Virginia Woolf’s THE WAVES

Iraj Montashery


Virginia Woolf in THE WAVES questions binary thinking regarding gender identity severely because it is reductive and restrictive. For this reason, Rhoda celebrates and welcomes diversity and ambiguity of gender. To Rhoda, featurelessness or facelessness is desirable, since it is malleable and opens up a space for more possibilities. Rhoda’s relation to language and identity does not follow a very clear-cut path, like that of Susan, for instance, who identifies with the mother, and Jinny, who identifies with the father. For Rhoda, accepting existing identification paths which are predetermined and prescribed will trap and imprison her, and will not allow for emancipation or multiplicity. She is disdainful of identity, society and language. Rhoda revels in featurelessness and then it becomes clear that featurelessness is Rhoda’s particular identity. She defines herself through not being like her other friends who try to claim their identities at their two meetings. In short, non-identity is Rhoda’s identity.


Non-Identity; Identity, Gender; Facelessness; Language; Rhoda;

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