| In her study Stevie Davies discusses the different
perspectives in the novel and looks at its central figures,
who are based on Virginia Woolf's parents: her father, whom
she perceived as a threat to her independence and creative
authority, and her mother, the in-dwelling spirit of the novel.
She also shows, by likening it to classical texts, how
the work contains the classic features of elegy and how
imagery pervading the novel, which echoes the myths of rape,
loss and transformation, reveals a longing for pre-conscious
Important too is the ever-persistent metaphor of the sea,
which becomes both a mirror for human narcissism, reflecting
terrible, meaningless self-images, and a Sea of Life from
whose decomposition new births arise. The sea without is
continually answered in the novel by the sea within, 'the
Mind, that Ocean'.