It was surprising how naïve a 24 year old woman could be while reading The Voyage Out. Rachel Vinrace lacked a parental figure, didn’t comprehend the idea of love, and constantly struggled with expressing her emotions verbally. Despite her flaws that would understandably worry her aunt Helen, her outstanding talent as a pianist is significant:
“Reality dwelling in what one saw and felt, but did not talk about, one could accept a system in which things went round and round quite satisfactorily to other people, without often troubling to think about it, except as something superficially strange. Absorbed by her music she accepted her lot very complacently, blazing into indignation perhaps once a fortnight, and subsiding as she subsided now. Inextricably mixed in dreamy confusion, her mind seemed to enter into communion, to be delightfully expanded and combined with the spirit of the whitish boards on deck, with the spirit of the sea, with the spirit of Beethoven Op.111…” (Woolf, 31).
I always enjoyed reading this section of the book. The words seem to flow with a feeling of Rachel actually playing the piano. She can completely lose herself in her piano playing. To my surprise, the scene immediately reminded me of a classmate that I fell in love with. He could not accept my feelings, which is understandable, but this scene reminds me of the time I walked into the room, and there he was- playing the piano in perfection. Like Rachel, he was a professional who seemed to really lose himself while he played. Unlike Rachel, I admire him as an intelligent realistic guy with parents as his role models. However, sometimes I did feel that anything he could not express to me with words, he was able to tell me by playing a piece. It was a strange feeling, but despite the drastic differences in personality between these two people, Rachel’s involvement with the piano strongly resonated with me of a past crush.