The work A Room of One’s Own vividly portrays hardship and inequalities faced by many women during the 19th century. Virginia Woolf A Room of One’s Own rests squarely on the distinction: one must have the means of 500 and a room of one’s own, she says more than once, in order to “Think of things in themselves” (Woolf 23). In this work, it was Wool creates a tale of the brilliant young women whose burning desires for careers had been stifled by societies convinced that woman’s place was in the home. Thesis Such causes as social inequality and social oppression, poor education and lack of knowledge, inedibility to find well-paid jobs and earn for living led to financial dependence and low creativity of women unable to develop their unique skills and talents.
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In modern society, social inequality and social oppression experienced by women are the main causes of poor education and lack of skills. In my life, social and racial differences are the main problem. In my society, being female is a problem by definition because the definitions are not the female’s own. She is, as Virginia Woolf says, “perhaps, the most discussed animal in the universe” (Woolf 25). Set apart, idealized, feared, she is pure slut, brainless witch, mother death. Caught in this thicket of definitions, contradictory and dehumanizing, a girl may retreat from life altogether and may retreat from her body itself. This second retreat enables her, in male terms, to rise above herself, to concentrate.
In my life, the effects of these problems are poor school education and lack of knowledge and professional skills. We know that the full implications of the power inherent in classical education. Woolf vividly portrays relations between poverty and wealth. Her sense of deprivation at not having had a university education-indeed, her position on this as it affected all women-is very well known. As she grew up, the idea of this particular deprivation rankled particularly because she saw, in the depth of her imaginative being, that the classics could inform and empower her works as they had an entire, overwhelming literary tradition (Waters and Devine 10).
In my life, poor education and lack of knowledge prevent me to find a job and earn for living. To acquire education would be a struggle for every woman. I agree with Woolf that the majority of women are not brilliant; nor are they queens or courtesans.
Thus, a woman needs “money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction” (Woolf 21). Once the children are raised, nothing remains of it all. Despite the fact that women everywhere have taken up her words as a battle cry, few of us have seriously attempted it. Her reading and the contexts of her literary relationships must have made clear to her that classical literature enjoyed a central place in the Western consciousness of making literature; she must have been aware that the acquisition of the classical strain in her work would confirm her in that most English of literary traditions, the tradition of Sidney and Spenser..
The effect of poor education is inedibility to find well-paid jobs and earn for living. At the beginning of the 21st century, men receive better education and have a chance to become independent. I agree with Woolf that throughout the 19th century it would have been the prerogative of virtually every Englishman of a certain class to enjoy the benefits of classical education. These benefits he could articulate without hesitation: the promotion of intellectual rigor, a deepening understanding of the manly virtues of courage, resourcefulness, and physical strength, the acquisition of the “humane” virtues of moderation, proportion, and a consequent possibility of wisdom.
Not just patriarchal power, the classics also ratified class and culture. Woolf proposed a radical reassessment of values when she challenged the aspiring young academics at Newnham and Girton to ignore “the perpetual admonitions of the eternal pedagogue” and concentrate their scholarship on the ordinary lives of the common man and a common woman” (Woolf 27) She conjured up a vision of a shop full of ribbons and a girl behind the counter: “I would as soon have her true history as the hundred and fiftieth life of Napoleon or seventieth study of Keats and his use of Miltonic inversion which old Professor Z and his like are now inditing.” (Woolf 31) It was dangerous advice to give career-minded women: in a society which conceives intellectual exchange as a “marketplace of ideas,” this kind of critical inquiry does not sell very well.
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The main problems in my life are financial dependence and low income which limit my creativity and do not allow me to develop my talents and become independent. Despite the low cost of writing papers, Woolf underlines women’s restrictions arising from a lack of funds. To write has demanded the financial support of someone else — parents, spouse, family — which saps the freedom to think and write without regard to the prejudices or attitudes of others.
Woolf’s proposed five hundred pounds a year gives only a modest standard of living but adds the intellectual independence which makes the woman’s work her own choice. I agree with Woolf that caught in a bind, women have found that since their inferior social status did not entitle them to education, money, or a historical position, they lacked all the tools to escape their inferior position. It is unquestionable that the greatest absence felt by aspiring women writers was approval. Society’s regulations and attitudes have made the tension between the usual woman’s role and the woman writer’s inclinations inevitable.
The effect of these problems is that I am deprived of a chance to be creative and innovative in my ideas and worldviews. I share the opinion that the expectations of society and family, bolstered by religion, are threats to women’s esteem and self-esteem which seem to attack from all sides. If the difficulty of challenging all society seemed overwhelming and the possibility of disagreeing with Scripture too threatening, opposing the family would have been no easier.
In a setting where repressions or limitations could be ascribed to loving concern, rebellion threatened the first emotional ties a person had known. The imaginary Judith Shakespeare, wanting from her parents what they unquestioningly granted her brother, is Woolf’s model of a daughter: “How could she disobey him? How could she break his heart? The force of her own gift alone drove her to it” (Woolf 33). The woman whose great gifts drove her to clash with these obstacles might have been more fortunate than the one who resisted making a choice, who wanted respect and esteem as well as her work.
In sum, social values and prejudices are the main causes of inequalities and low creativity of women. In a century, women have similar problems as those described by Woolf. They cause financial dependence on women and low self-esteem. A room is precisely one of the factors they do have in common; all part of a long line of known or anonymous women writers, they are restricted by their sex.
- Waters, M. Devine, F. Social Inequalities in Comparative Perspective. WileyBlackwell; New Ed edition, 2003.
- Woolf, V. A Room of Ones Own. Cultural Conversations the presence of the Past. edt. by S. Dilks, R. Hansen, M Parfitt. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2001, pp. 19-42.