In the twentieth century women did not have many rights. Women were expected to stay at home and do housework, cook food, have babies, and take care of them. Women was not supposed to be writers, Virginia Woolf and many other women overcame that standard. Virginia Woolf became a writer during this time and wrote about something she deeply cared about, feminism. Woolf’s work highlights women’s work, who does not have the rights or enough money to use it.
Throughout Virginia Woolf’s writings, she describes two different dinners: one at a men’s college, and another at a women’s college. Using multiple devices, Woolf expresses her opinion of the inequality between men and women within these two passages. She also uses a narrative style to express her opinions even more throughout the passages.
Virginia Woolf is often categorized as being an aesthetic writer. Most of her works played largely on the concept of suggestion. They addressed many social issues especially those regarding feminine problems. Woolf was acutely aware of her identity as a woman and she used many of writings as outlets for her frustrations. According to her doctrine, the subjugation of women is a central fact of history, a key to most of our social and psychological disorders (Marder 3). The two works I will focus on is A Room of One's Own and "A Society" from Monday or Tuesday. They are both works that challenge the roles of men and women.
The preceding statement is by no means a personal attack on Virginia Woolf, nor is an attempt to discredit the work of the feminist movement. Woolf wrote in the subjective present and was surrounded by the issues of her writing. She conveyed, as best her situation afforded her, an important issue that becomes more illuminated with the partially objective hindsight of history. Woolf?s motives are pure and there can be nothing but praise for the tact of her style. Furtherm...
Virginia Woolf refuses the role society prescribes her. She stands up against glass ceilings, separate spheres, and double standards-cultural institutions that create and uphold a weaker sex. In her writing, specifically "A Room of One's Own," she manifests her contempt and bitterness by advocating "it is necessary [for women] to have five hundred [pounds] a year and a lock on the door if you are to write fiction or poetry" (769). However, to break and step above the institutions she criticizes, Woolf knows she cannot simply complain about her brothers' years at Oxford while she stayed home with tutors-that would lead an audience to believe "she has an axe to grind" (quoted in Bartholomae and Petrosky, 750). Rather, she must strive for the calm collectedness of her male academic counterparts. This presents a problem for Woolf: how does she convey the oppression of women-the passion behind her work-through an objective and level voice? She needed a vehicle that could be neutral yet emotional, provocative but wise. Ultimately, Woolf needed a mask: one that mimicked the reserved quality of men, yet allowed her to bare the thoughts of a woman subjected to society's mechanisms.
Virginia Woolf, in her treatise A Room of One's Own, identified a gendered division of labor. For her, men work in the market place and make the money while the women, the upper class women at least, attend to the social pleasantries and household management. While she lamented this state of affairs, she did not present, as Gilman did, a model for existence that would allow men and women to operate on the same level. However, a direct comparison to Gilman is somewhat unfair as she was not focused on the status of women in the economy so much as the status of women as writers. Like Gilman, Woolf saw this division between a man's work and a woman's work as a socially constructed conceit. Unlike Gilman, Woolf advocated a further break between the world of men and women.
In chapter two of A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf introduces the reader to the uncomfortable conditions existing between men and women during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Woolf’s character, Mary Beton, surveys books about women at the British Museum and discovers that nearly all of them are written by men. What’s more, the books that she does find express negative sentiments about women, leading Beton to believe that men are expressing “anger that had gone underground and mixed itself with all kinds of other emotions” (32). She links this repressed anger to man’s need to feel superior over women, and, wondering how and why men have cause to be angry with the female sex, she has every right to be angry with men.
Fears are an overwhelming aspect of our life from birth until old age. Whether we fear an object such as something lying underneath the bed, a certain figure such as Michael Myers, or an intangible idea such as the future or even death, fear always exists. In several cases, fear leads to a suppression of one’s self and the wonderful ideas that one’s minds may contain. For example, the cure to cancer could very well be trapped inside the mind of someone who has been constantly oppressed and taught to believe that they are not smart enough to get far in life. In “Professions for Women,” author Virginia Woolf persuades her audience, intellectual women, to overcome her insecurities in order to improve her life. To soundly achieve this purpose, Woolf utilizes rhetorical questions, an extended metaphor, and allusion.
What I have discussed are two women authors that have faced trials in their lifetimes pertaining to feminism that society had forced upon them. We are given insight into the ways and values of their time and how these experiences influenced their writings. In conclusion, we can see how societal issues concerning the roles of women have differed in principles, but remain the same in the way that there is an unbroken tradition regarding how men and women differ in their roles as well as their perceived rights. Female writers and advocates of women’s rights show these influences with Mary Wollstonecraft using her strong personality and direct writings and Virginia Woolf using her narratives, and both giving us insight to the struggles of an ongoing debate.
In talking about Virginia Woolf in the context of Julia Duckworth Stephen and feminism, I will start from the beginning of Virginia Stephen’s life. The idea of ‘Mother’ is a basic, recognizable concept in probably even the most primitive human cultures. Infants start separation of self and other with the body of Mother, since an infant gains a sense of ‘continuity of being’ from his or her mother’s attention. (Rosenman 12) From this definition of relationship-as-self, an infant finds her existence confirmed by feedback from her mother. In this manner, Julia is the first contact for Virginia with the rest of the world, and with all of womankind. Since Virginia will go on to have most of her important relationships with women, this is an important connection.