The Phantoms of Society in Virginia Woolf´s Progessions for Women Essay

The Phantoms of Society in Virginia Woolf´s Progessions for Women Essay

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Human beings find the expected so comforting. People want to be prepared for any catastrophe and keep chaos in the world under control, but this strategy is flawed. In the conquest for control, humans have created an ideal of how life should be, and phantoms are formed from this ideal. Doris Lessing’s “To Room Nineteen” and Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas are both examples of how different people live with ambiguity. However, Virginia Woolf’s “Professions for Women” most clearly explains how society’s ideals affect its members. In the essay, Woolf speaks of how society’s expectations of a female writer manifested into the form of benevolent angel—who tried to repress Woolf’s naturally honest way of writing. The phantoms are created because the public is constantly trying to obtain what is considered “normal” by society to help maintain order. People think that abiding by the phantoms’ wishes to live with instability will make them happy, but this is not the truth.
Though the main point of Virginia Woolf’s “Professions for Women” is speaking to working women, it also provides insight into how the phantoms of society are created. In “Professions for Women,” Woolf tells of her own personal journey as a female writer and how breaking away from society’s expectations was difficult. The phantom of society was continually holding Woolf back, who began to call this being “The Angel in the House.” This “Angel in the House” was the image of society’s perfect woman, and it would whisper in Woolf’s ears what the public expected her to write. Woolf did not want to follow the angel’s instructions, so she killed the ghost. She puts it: “Had I not killed her she would have killed me. She would have plucked the heart out of my writin...


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...ich makes the people more content with their lives.
Altogether, these works show the phantom of society for what it is: a false counselor. After reading Woolf’s essay, readers can see examples of controlling ghosts in “To Room Nineteen” and “The Dead”. Under Milk Wood provides a glimpse into a liberated kind of lifestyle that is attainable without any ideals. With the knowledge of phantoms, readers can see the ghosts in their own lives and how the people who let the public’s expectations dominate their lives are usually unhappy and emotionally stifled. Though humans are only trying to make sense of the chaos that surrounds them by deciding what is “normal,” the effects of this epitome are far from benign. People should identify and kill their phantoms of society if they want to stand a chance of being able to comfortably live with the natural chaos in the world.

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