Virginia Woolf 's `` Professions For Women `` Essay

Virginia Woolf 's `` Professions For Women `` Essay

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Virginia Woolf, prolific novelist, essayist and critic, delivered “Professions for Women” as a speech before the National Society for Women’s Service on January 21, 1931. Her address highlighted the obstacles facing professional women while emphasizing the pressure placed on women by Victorian standards and expectations. Woolf’s purpose was to empower the solely female audience and to illuminate the simplicity in creating a career, despite the obstacles through outlining her personal experience.
Woolf begins the speech by creating a self-effacing tone by undermining her qualifications to speak before the National Society for Women’s Service. She creates the attitude that her story of entering a profession is unprofound, which in turn implies that any woman within the audience can achieve similar success. Furthermore, to continue the tone, Woolf classifies writing as “harmless.” She expands this description of writing by explaining that the profession does not disrupt her family and it does not require expensive materials unlike other careers. Woolf sustains her claim that writing is harmless by utilizing logic. She claims, “The cheapness of writing paper, is of course, the reason why women have succeeded as writes before they have succeeded in other professions.” This logic explains why women have been able to emerge as writers, which depicts to the audience how achievable becoming a writer is.
Woolf introduces a personal anecdote in the beginning of the second paragraph. However, she utilizes the third person in order to allow the audience to imagine themselves as Woolf, which creates a bridge between Woolf and the audience. Woolf emphasizes the simplicity of her rise into her profession by employing concise diction, which...


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... Also, Woolf uses the pronoun “we” to unite the female gender in battling these obstacles. Finally, in order to conclude her message Woolf creates an extended metaphor. Woolf speaks of women’s possession of empty rooms, by first explaining the work put into paying the rent. She then challenges the audience to fill the empty rooms with their achievements, which should be shared. This metaphor reinforces to the audience her message to encourage women to become fulfilled with accomplishments. Finally to conclude the speech, Woolf states, “My time is up; I must cease.” This sentence creates closure to the multifaceted piece and ties the speech together.
Virginia Woolf shares her story of success to the National Society for Women’s Service in order to empower and inspire the women within the audience to dismantle the Angel in the House and pursue their professional goals.

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