Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Virginia Woolf / A Room of One's Own - summary and analysis

in A Room of One's Own Virginia Woolf argued in the article that a woman needs money and her own room if she is interested in writing books. In her opinion, women were excluded from writing because of their inferior economic situation compared to men. Economic freedom will bring women closer to literary freedom. The possibility that women would have their own room was far from realized, unless the woman's parents were very wealthy, or they were of aristocratic status .The article examines the possibility for women to write literature at the level of William Shakespeare , given the limitations faced by women, and whether a "poetic license" is needed to create art in private life.

Woolf's father, Sir Leslie Stefan, believed, according to the views prevailing in his time, that only the boys in the family should attend school. Virginia Woolf version that due to her father's belief, she did not receive a formal schooling. However, recently discovered archival documents show that Virginia and her sister, Vanessa, studied Greek and German at a well-known school in London for several years. In any case, Woolf delivers the lectures that make up the book, to women who have the opportunity to study formal education in a group setting. It emphasizes to them the importance of education, and yet it points to the challenges that this education poses to society.

in A Room of One's Own Woolf cites the writer Rebecca West as an example and wonders why she is considered a "feminist," just because she wrote about men "things that may be true even if they are not to be flattered." According to Woolf, West's labeling of men as a "complete feminist" is the fruit of offended arrogance, and serves as a kind of protest on their part against the disregard for their power to believe in themselves:

For centuries, women have been used as speculators who have the magical and playful power to reflect the figure of a man twice her natural size.... For her part ... because if she starts to tell a little of the truth, then the character will shrink in the mirror . Woolf claims that there is a sense of superiority on the part of the men. She argues that this male complex ... passion is rooted, rather than have is inferior except that he majeure . This complex, she claims, also stands as a "barrier" in women's path to politics. She remarks that "the history of men's opposition to the liberation of women is perhaps more interesting than the interpretation of that liberation itself."

In one part of A Room of One's Own, Woolf invented a fictional character named Judith, Shakespeare's alleged sister, to illustrate that a woman endowed with Shakespeare's talents could not get the opportunities he was given because many doors would be closed to her because she was a woman. Just as Woolf stayed at home when her brothers went to school, so did Judith stay at home when Shakespeare went to school. She seems to have been imprisoned in her home, Woolf claims, even though she is endowed with an adventurous and imaginative character, no less than her famous brother.But she had to be absent from school and fulfill the household chores expected of a faithful daughter and not waste her time reading a book. Her parents forcibly engaged her, and when she refused to marry the guy, her father beat her. While Shakespeare is advancing in life, and gaining worldwide historical admiration, his sister Judith is trapped within the stifling set of expectations required of a woman, with no chance of applying her genius, and she eventually commits suicide .

Woolf names several women writers in British culture and examines their careers. Among them are Jane Austen , the Bronte sisters and George Elliott .Sometimes it is necessary to examine the intertextual contexts in the article. She tells of herself sitting on the banks of the river and adds in parentheses: "call me Mary Beton, Mary Seton, Mary Carmichael or by any name you pleaseThese names are taken from a 16th-century English ballad called "The Four Marys" or " Mary Hamilton " ( Ann ) , which tells the story of Queen Mary's three court ladies. The names of all of them are as names reminiscent of Woolf, and one of them, the spokeswoman, Mary Hamilton, who became pregnant because of a relationship with the King, is about to be hanged. She is actually executed because she has underestimated marriage and motherhood and lives outside the social female circle. In mentioning these names, taken from the ballad, Woolf identifies in these women and herself a kind of danger to themselves on the one hand, and to the social circle on the other hand, being extraordinary in terms of their occupation and in terms of their way of life.

According to Virginia Woolf, it was the sense of modesty that made women remain anonymous in the previous centuries and even in the 19th century, and she cites as an example the writers Currer Bell , (the pseudonym of Charlotte Bronte ) George Elliott and George Sand , who were "Victims of Internal Struggle" and chose to hide their faces by using a man's name. Woolf quotes Pericles , who said that "the head of a woman's glory is not to be spoken of," while he himself was "a man often spoken of.  According to Woolf, Money adds respect to something that is an act of frivolity if its price is not paid. Woolf emphasizes that these 18th-century pioneering writers paved the way for Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and George Elliott. She explains that masterpieces are not born lonely and childless; they are the fruit of many years of thinking together, of thinking by the whole people, until the experience of the masses stands behind the single voice . 

Woolf believes that these writers wrote novels because they had to write in the common living room, where it was easier to write prose than poetry or a play, because writing a novel required less concentration. Woolf quotes Jane Austen's brother, who said his sister was forced to write with random interruptions: "She was careful that servants or guests or anyone outside her family circle would not suspect her occupation." Austen hid her manuscript from the guests. Woolf believes that despite these difficulties, " Pride and Prejudice " is a good book and a man would not be ashamed if he were caught writing it, while Jane Austen was happy to have one hinge in an insect door so she could hide her manuscript before anyone got inside. " According to Woolf, in Austen's eyes "there was something wrong" in writing this book, while she herself wonders if the book would have been better if Austen had not made an effort to hide the manuscript from the eyes of the guests. Woolf argues that the values ​​of the novel are the real values ​​of reality itself, but there is a fundamental difference between the values ​​of women and those of men:

In one chapter of the book, Woolf discusses a topic that can be interpreted as lesbian relationships : "Let us admit to the sole authority of our society - we that these things happen sometimes. Sometimes women do like women."She is referring to the trial and the media noise that accompanied the release of a novel about lesbian relations in 1928 .Woolf argues that until the time of Jane Austen, women were presented only in relation to men: "It is not enough that the great women in literature were seen only in the eyes of the opposite sex but were only seen in their relation to the opposite sex. And how small is that part of a woman's life." Woolf argues that this has made the portrayal of women in literature too simple and monotonous.