Women Seeing the World through a Different Lens in Three Guineas and The Years

Women Seeing the World through a Different Lens in Three Guineas and The Years

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At the time Virginia Woolf wrote The Years and Three Guineas, there were many differences between men and women, one of which was education. Most women were not educated, which prevented them from entering into agency. Women allowed themselves to be played by history. In order for them to change a world that was dominated by men, women needed to refuse what history said was their essence, and rather, use that essence to create critical ways of being in the world. The photograph, "a crudely colored photograph--of your world as it appears to us who see it from the threshold of the private house; through the shadow of the veil that St. Paul still lays upon your eyes; from the bridge which connects the private house with the world of public life," must be taken from a different perspective, (Three Guineas 18). In Three Guineas, Woolf shows her readers how women were enslaved by men, why it was so important that women receive an education, and the different ways in which women could enter into agency in order to change a world that was dominated by men.

In Three Guineas, Woolf describes all of the ways in which women were being enslaved by men. There were many differences among men and women, which deprived women of their freedom. At this time, there was a power imbalance; men were dominant and women were not valued by society. Many doors were still locked for women. Men had been educated for five or six hundred years, while women, only sixty. Even though both sexes contributed to university funds, the number of women who were allowed an education was extremely limited. "Though we see the same world, we see it through different eyes," (Three Guineas 18). Men were taught to think and act through tradition. They wer...


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...en how they were being enslaved by men, explained the importance of an education, and proposed ways in which women could enter into agency in order to change a world that was dominated by men. Women should strive, " to assert `the rights of all--all men and women--to respect in their persons of the great principles of Justice and Equality and Liberty,'" (Three Guineas 143). Women must look at the whole picture and burn the old photograph, the crudely colored photograph, and retake the picture from a different angle, from the angle of a world that let the light into the private house. Take the picture from the perspective of an educated woman, an educated woman looking through a different lens than she had before.

Works Cited

Woolf, Virginia. Three Guineas. ©1938, 2008. Harcourt, Inc. Orlando, Florida.

Woolf, Virginia. The Years. New York: HBJ, 1937.

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