Alice Walker's In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens and Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own

Alice Walker's In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens and Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own

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Alice Walker's In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens and Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own


It is interesting to contrast the points of view of Alice Walker and Virgina Woolf on the same subject. These writers display how versatile the English language can be. Alice Walker was born in 1944 as a farm girl in Georgia. Virginia Woolf was born in London in1882. They have both come to be highly recognized writers of their time, and they both have rather large portfolios of work. The scenes they might have grown up seeing and living through may have greatly influenced their views of subjects which they both seem to write about.

In her essay "In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens," Alice Walker speaks first about the untouchable faith of the black women of the post-Reconstruction South. She speaks highly of the faith and undying hope of these women and their families. She even comes to recognize them as saints as she describes their faith as "so intense, deep, unconscious, the they themselves were unaware of the richness they held" (Walker 694). In a passage in which she speaks about the treatment and social status of the women of the sixteenth century, Woolf explains that a woman who might have had a truly great gift in this time "would have surely gone crazy, shot herself, or ended up in some lonely cottage on the outside of town, half witch, half wizard, feared and mocked" (Woolf 749). Her use of some of these powerful nominative shows that she feels strongly about what she is writing. Also for her, life growing up and stories she may have heard may have influenced this passage greatly.

In her passage she imagines what it may have been like had William Shakespeare had a sister. She notices how difficult it would be even given...


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...the first person and imagine the South very easily because of how descriptive she is in her narration. The reader of Woolf's essay clearly can understand and come to realize the unfairness and downright cruelty of the pure neglect of hidden talent among many women throughout time. She does this through simply telling a good story. This perhaps shows that Virginia Woolf may have been fond of Walker's work. Woolf chooses to clearly state and agree with the same points Walker makes and shows the ideas in a different light because indeed she is a different person with different attributes. This shows up dominantly in her rewriting of Walker's "In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens."

Works Cited:

Walker, Alice. In Search of Our Mother's Gardens. New York: Harcourt Brace Javanovich, 1983.

Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One's Own. San Diego, Calif. : Harvest-HBJ, 1989.

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