The Legacy

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “The Legacy” (1940) by Virginia Woolf. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) was a British writer and one of the most important authors of the Modernist movement. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927), and Orlando (1928), and the essay A Room of One’s Own (1929). Her work uses innovative techniques such as non-linear narratives or stream of consciousness narration. She was part of the Bloomsbury group and founded Hogarth Press alongside her husband, Leonard Bell.


Here, you can read an extract from our study guide: 

Social setting

The social setting discusses gender issues by looking at how Gilbert treats his wife. Gilbert appreciates his wife’s beauty, and often compares her to other women in terms of attractiveness. Moreover, Gilbert dismisses Sissy Miller because of her looks: “There were thousands of Sissy Millers – drab little women in black carrying attache cases”. At the same time, Gilbert disregards his wife’s intelligence and shows that he believes himself to be superior: “If only she had discussed the matter with him, instead of puzzling her poor little head about questions that were much too difficult for her to understand”. In contrast, B.M. lends Angela a book on socialism, showing he sees her as an intelligent woman and as his equal. 

Moreover, in society, Angela is limited to her identity...

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The Legacy

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