Virginia Woolf's Style And Subject In A Room of One's Own Essay

Virginia Woolf's Style And Subject In A Room of One's Own Essay

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Times have changed since universities admitted only male students. Women have gained the right to educate themselves, and the division of the sexes in business has decreased dramatically. When Virginia Woolf wrote her essay A Room of One’s Own, however, there was a great lack of female presence in literature, in writing specifically. In the essay, Woolf critiques this fact by taking the reader on a journey through a day in the life at a fictional university to prove that although women are capable of critical thought and want to write great works of literature, they are unable to for lack of means. The way she comes to this conclusion through writing a work of fiction is not only interesting, but also very unusual. Using the generalizing term 'I', commenting on what she is doing, and shifting gears abruptly are some stylistic ways in which she makes her point that women need money and a room of their own in order to write fiction. Looking at chapters one and six of the essay, it is clear to see that the way she writes about women in fiction, while critiquing the lack thereof in confrontational and sarcastic manner, shows that although Woolf is ardent about getting her message across, she is aware that she may be brushed aside by her male oppressor.
Throughout A Room of One’s Own, Woolf uses 'I' and different personas to eloquently relate a day in the life at her fictional university, Oxbridge. It is immediately clear that she is not referring to herself, Virginia Woolf, when she says 'I' because she conveniently adds a disclaimer as she begins her fiction, 'Here then was I (call me Mary Beton, Mary Seton, Mary Charmichael or by any name you please' it is not a matter of any importance) sitting on the banks of a river a we...

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...ay form while speaking to the fact that perhaps all fiction should be written this way. It is beneficial to write an essay in this style because it makes the reader look deeper for the meaning in it all. In chapter one especially, the reader is forced to wonder what significance each occurrence has and how each instance relates to women in fiction. It becomes clearer in chapter six, when the point is laid out plainly, but the stylistic choices are still bearing on the fact that you must read critically to understand the true meaning of the piece. This is true for most fiction, but for this essay specifically, the importance of the issue and the style of the writing go hand in hand to create for the reader a nugget of truth to stow away in his notebook forever.

Works Cited

Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One's Own. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1989.

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