Orlando names his lover ‘Sasha’ ostensibly because she is Russian and so was the white fox he had as a boy. But note what follows the description of this beautiful fox (for surely it was beautiful) as being ‘soft as snow’ – its teeth of steel bite him so savagely his father had it killed. Sasha later hurts Orlando and it takes him centuries to get over it. And I mean centuries.
‘Sasha, as he called her for short, and because it was the name of a white Russian fox he had had as a boy – a creature soft as snow, but with teeth of steel, which bit him so savagely that his father had it killed.’
See also Henry Williamson’s simile for softness.
Source: Virginia Woolf, Orlando: A Biography, ed. with an introduction by Rachel Bowlby (Oxford: World’s Classics, 1992), p. 43
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