This essay develops in the following three aspects: firstly, it discovers the denotations and connotations of certain images in A Room of One’s Own; secondly, it gives detailed explanation upon Woolf’s writing of stream of consciousness; thirdly, it explores the importance of Virginia Woolf and her masterpiece, A Room of One’s Own, to the development of feminism. In the end, this essay arrives at a conclusion that Virginia Woolf has been a pioneer in feminine literature and has done great contribution to the feminism development.
According to Virginia Woolf, the feminine features are disappearing gradually out of the ruling ideology of the male. In the patriarchal society, it is the male that sets up the standards while the female are those to abide by the existing rules quietly. As a result, the female have no independent pursuits except for those advocated by the male. In a sense, the female become “the angels in the room”, who are willing to accept the inferior values instilled by the male.
In order to fight for the female freedom, Woolf believes that it is essential for the female to recognize their own natures, especially in writing. In Virginia Woolf’s opinion, adequate money and an independent room are necessity for a woman to write a fiction (Woolf, 1984). Based on such an idea, Virginia Woolf carries on her book-length essay A Room of One’s Own.
Denotation and Connotation of Images in A Room of One’s Own
The first images to be talked about are Judith Shakespeare and William Shakespeare, who are brothers and sisters. As a woman similar to Virginia Woolf herself, Judith stays at home without access to education whereas William is sent to school by the family. Unluckily and ridiculously, if Judith is found out to read any book at home, she will be punished by her parents. Even worse, poor Judith is threatened to marry with someone she does not love at all. In order to preserve her own freedom, she chooses to kill herself for a release in the end. In comparison, William, Judith’s brother, establishes himself with his rich knowledge and succeeds in accumulating his own fortunes and reputation. Instead of being restrained by the family or the society, William is able to live with freedom and gains great success.
Virginia Woolf’s Expression in Stream of Consciousness
Being one of the greatest writers in her times, Virginia Woolf is fond of stream of consciousness. By expressing her thoughts in this way, she can express herself freely. Meanwhile, readers can further detect her ideas at that time and trace corresponding changes.
In her works A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf frequently reflects her desire to grasp the “ideal moment” and “fantastic moment”. Living in a distressed world, Judith can only enjoy herself at such moments. Therefore, Virginia Woolf chooses to tell the story in stream of consciousness. It is also such stream of consciousness constitutes the clue of A Room of One’s Own.
Throughout the book-length essay A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf adopts the style of stream of consciousness. Firstly, the length of this essay is a result of her stream of consciousness. Unlike other essays,A Room of One’s Own is divided into six chapters. In detail, chapter one is about the educational background, Oxbridge College. It is full of novel experiences and attractive knowledge. It introduces the female readers into a promising world. Chapter two is mainly about the British library, where there are a lot of male writings. To our surprise, a large number of male writings are related with the female instead of the male themselves. Chapter three tells the story of Judith Shakespeare and her brother, William Shakespeare, which is a reflection of the injustice between man and woman. Chapter four is a historical tracing of previous female writers. By reminding readers of pervious female writers, Woolf encourages every woman to seek for individual independence. Chapter five is Woolf’s own opinions on female writings. The last chapter, chapter six is Virginia’s advice on the relationship between male and female.
Virginia Woolf’s Contribution to Feminism
In addition to reminding the female of the social insecurity, Woolf also calls for the female to strive for their access to education (Bishop, 1989). In A Room of One’s Own, Woolf discusses the possibility for a woman to produce works comparable to Shakespeare’s. At the same time, she reveals the actual living status of the female and calls for a female struggle out of the patriarchal ruling (Woolf, 1929).
Unlike some other writers, Woolf admits the literary value in economy. She encourages the female to write and then sell their works in exchange of money. As for herself, she is determined to support herself and improve her living standard by writing and selling books (Ratt, 2001). And the fact is that Woolf does succeed in improving her life by doing so. In 1930, Woolf, together with her husband made a careful analysis on her income. To their surprise, she has earned 3,020 pounds, the number of a yearly amount of a public officer’s income within half a year. Being economically independent, Woolf no longer restrains herself within the family. She travels around the world and widens her horizon a lot. In return, her experiences inspire her in writing. Gradually, Woolf becomes more influential because of her wealth and her literary contribution.