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Woolf's Thoughts in A Room of One's Own Essay


In A Room of Ones Own Virginia Woolf discusses many topics in her discussion of Women and Fiction that lead her into thoughts of other intrigues. In the sixth chapter, Woolf begins with staring out her window in London watching the traffic of the street. She is in some ways comparing it to the world of Shakespeare but is distracted by all the differences in the ways of the people. Woolf sees that the people walking around the town do not care about the state of literature and would not even care if it were to be laid on the street for them to see, people would still walk over and continue on about their business.

Woolf is most struck by a woman in patent leather boots walking towards a corner and a man in a maroon overcoat walking towards that same corner and their both getting into a cab and driving away. Woolf begins to wonder is there really such a difference between the two minds of men and women? Woolf asks . . .whether there are two sexes in the mind corresponding to the two sexes in the body, and whether they also require to be united in order to get complete satisfaction and happiness? And I went on amateurishly to sketch a plan of the soul so that in each of us two powers preside, one male, and one female; and in the mans brain the man predominates over the woman, and in the womans brain the woman predominates of the man. This statement Woolf relates to Coleridges theory that the androgynous mind is the mind of a genius. There is the proper balance between man and women in the brain which creates a genius Shakespeare type mind which is very much unlike the extreme separation of men and women in Woolfs day.

Woolf declares that to rely on ones sex to be a writer is doom for it limits intellectual freedom. To focus on the sex of the writer is to limit the ability and the genre. The threat of the self-conscious woman is the threat that the woman is getting in touch with the male side of her brain thus creating a genius mind. This idea was a threat in that days society when the goal was to keep the coming-of-age women underneath the more powerful and intellectual male. Woolf even says . . .it is fatal for anyone who writes to think of their sex.

As Woolf concludes her writings she offers seemingly excuses on why she was not able to write on her given topic. She declares that she has fallen prey to the need for material things which is what the artist must deny to become genius and open ones mind. She then counters that it is almost impossible for an artist to not have money or education and be able to write. This is a relation to her fictional character of Judith Shakespeare who while had the money did not have the education that her brother Shakespeare had leaving her to her own demise. Woolf says that women have always been poor which is why they have not had a dogs chance of writing poetry. She continues to urge the importance of having money and a room of ones own so that the option to write is available. She also urges those not to just write fiction but all books because books crossover and influence each other. Woolf is encouraging those to have money and shows in her life by marrying money and making more so that she may continue to advance the intellectual literature of the day.

Woolf,Virginia. (1928). A Room of Ones Own. South Australia: The University of Adelaide. Retrieved

April 27, 2009 from ebooks@Adelaide:

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