What is Virginia Woolf arguing in A Room of One's Own?
How does the way she writes help to develop that argument?
The starting point of the writing of A Room Of Ones' Own was a conference that the author Virginia Woolf had to give in May 1928 about Woman and Fiction atNewnham in front of the Arts Society. The conclusion is that " a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction" and the whole book is the explanation of how V. Woolf came to that conclusion. Indeed the scheme of thought that led to that conclusion makes illusion to many other subjects about women and the society they have been living in since the beginning of time until the timeat which V. Woolf wrote. First the essay will look at those economics, sociological, historical and cultural allusions made for explaining this opinion of a need of a room of a one's own for a woman and secondly, it will focus on the narration V. Woolf chose to convey her theory.
According to Woolf, one of the many problems that women have been facing for centuries to write creativelyis first the access to knowledge. In the first chapter, the narrator is denied the access to library in the fictive university of Oxbridge which is a fusion of the real universities of Cambridge and Oxford because she is a woman. Indeed a man tells that" ladies are only admitted to the library if accompanied by a Fellow of the College or furnished with a letter of introduction". Here there isthe first obstacle that women have to handle, they are denied the access to the enormous source of knowledge that the library represents and therefore they cannot fully develop their intellectual. Women are kept to a lower standard of education and therefore, they cannot fully develop themselves in comparison with the men and it infuriated the narrator who "descended the steps in anger". Then, thenarrator notes the luxury of the way university for men is furnished and thinks about the amount of work and money it must had been involved in order to build this university:
" money was poured liberally to set these stones on a deep foundation, and when the stones were raised, still more money was poured in from the coffers of kings and queen and great nobles to ensure that hymns should be sunghere and scholars taught."
Here Woolf stresses the importance of money for building universities and to give opportunity to men to have access to knowledge but this great quantity of money was only for men colleges. There was inequalities between men and women colleges. Indeed, with what the narrator sees in Oxbridge, she makes a comparison with Fernham the university for women that she goes toand she realized the differences of a financial nature that there was between Oxbridge and Fernham. Indeed, one of the thing that the narrator notes at Fernham is the simplicity and modesty of luxury with which the establishments are furnished and how poor is the dinner which makes her think that " The dinner was not good" consisted of " a plain gravy soup", "beef with its attendant greens andpotatoes", "prunes and custard", "biscuits and cheese" and "water-jug" when on the contrary at Oxbridge there was "soles, sunk in a deep fish", "a counterpane of the whitest cream", "partridges, many and various" "with all their retinue of sauces and salads" and some wine. This difference of food is not of an utmost importance but it underlines the unequal treatment of men and women in addition tothe violation on the freedom of the female mind with the ban to go to the library. Women are at this point seen as not as important as men and there is also the lack of money invested in the building of college for women that explains the modesty of Fernham.
This difference of luxury between the universities for men and women is for the narrator explained by the past. Indeed, it is the...