Virginia Woolf spends much of her time straddling the issues in ?A Room of One?s Own.? She carefully manipulates the reader by burying her points in flowery language and assumes the identity of another person so she does not have to take responsibility for what she says. She is very careful not to come off as too forceful or angry because she knows that her ideas will be disregarded if she does. Woolf is terrified of having her words labeled as ?feminist? and of attracting the stigma that the label is surrounded by. She fully understands that ?women?s issues? ignite a deep-seated resentment in the hearts of men and is conscious of the fact that at her particular time in history this resentment is running high due to the war and the women?s suffrage movement. In her essay she tries extremely hard to avoid being ridiculed by men while at the same time sparking ideas in the minds of women. Woolf desires women to have money and a room of their own so that their so-called ?potential literary genius? has the opportunity to mature and develop. She believes that working towards getting women to question their socialization is bringing them closer to this eventual goal. Her work, however, is selfish and one sided at times, but understandably so.
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...
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...exaggerated masculinity of their husbands. Neither sex benefits emotionally from the other and a wall goes up between them. Woolf?s most insightful point in her essay comes when she observes a man and a women together and realizes that they complement and belong with each other. She goes on to say that men and women have a female and a male part to themselves and when one part overpowers and denies the other it is impossible to fulfill your potential as a person. Woolf sees lost potential all around her because the sexes are living in different camps. She emphasizes that women need to break out of their sex role in order to fulfill their potential, but there are hints that she understands that men need to as well, although she does not acknowledge the thought.
Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One?s Own. New York: Harcourt, 1989.
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