A Room Of One's Own Character Analysis

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Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own explores the topic of women in fiction and identifies how its history has been shaped and influenced by patriarchal society. With her creation of a somewhat thought experiment detailing the life of her imagined version of Shakespeare’s sister, Woolf provides an insight into the lacking of female writers throughout history. By doing so she contrasts not only the treatment of women in comparison to men during this time, but the possibility of how many female voices have been lost due to such treatment. Some of the ways Woolf illustrates this unequal treatment when fostering creativity is through how she characterises Shakespeare’s sister, Judith and the language she employs to actualise this thought experiment. …show more content…
Although she is Woolf’s creation of a historical figure, her imagined self still plays an important role when demonstrating how gender influences both the lives of women and the history of women in fiction. Purposefully, Woolf contrasts Shakespeare’s upbringing with that of Judith, conveying that William read “Ovid, Virgil and Horace” (Woolf 48) and was able to begin a theatre career in London, even after bearing a child out of wedlock. In complete opposition, Judith, who we are told is “extraordinarily gifted” is made to feel shame over her talents. At the prospect of being able to be educated and read classic literary figures she had “no chance” (49) and upon objecting to marriage she is “severely beaten by her father” (49). Woolf is shaping Judith to be somebody who knows of her talents, but is also understands how women of her genius are treated in her world. While William is able to foster a career in London, Judith is told to stop “moon(ing) about” (49) books and papers, even having to burn or hide away any pieces of writing she may have created. Woolf demonstrates an awareness that Judith holds, knowing she has to hide her talent from her parents despite being “the apple of her father’s eye” (49). Woolf is emphasising that no woman is exempt from the deep constraints of patriarchal society, and ongoing sexist perspectives possibly run deeper than love …show more content…
She creates two clear distinct images surrounding William and Judith, with William at the “hub of the universe” (48) whereas Judith lies buried at a “cross roads where omnibuses stop” (50), remaining forgotten and her talent lost. Throughout the passage Woolf creates great emphasis on the talent and passion Judith holds for writing as her “genius was for fiction and lusted to feed abundantly on the lives of men and women” (50). Words such as ‘lusted’ create a strong imagery and portray a deep desire for Judith to pursue her writing talents, allowing us to understand her willingness to write is more than just a fleeting wish but a true passion that tragically was lost due to the treatment of women in this time. Woolf describes Judith to hold “the heat and violence of a poet’s heart” (50) however this is considered irrelevant when “tangled with a woman’s body” (50). This powerful assertion once again demonstrates that no matter how gifted a woman may be with such talent for poetry, she will nearly always be dismissed due to her gender. Woolf’s tragic end for Judith by suicide only to remain forgotten, is one she predicts would come about for “any woman born with a great gift during the sixteenth century” (51) and would undoubtedly end up

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