Reads: A Room Of One's Own

5:03 PM

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A Room Of One's Own is an extended essay by Virginia Woolf, based on a series of lectures she delivered at Newnham College, and Girton College, two women's colleges at Cambridge University. The essay employs a fictional narrator and narrative to explore women both as writers and characters in fiction, it is in fact, non-fiction. The essay is most commonly viewed as a feminist text, because of Woolf's notable argument for both a literal and figurative space for women writers within a culture dominated by patriarchy.

The spine of this essay maybe fairly thin, but Woolf manages to cover a lot in these pages. Most notably, the title, stating that in order to be a successful writer, women must have a room of their own in order to do so. Meaning, they must have money. However, women are kept from such things due to their relative poverty and lack of financial freedom. In order for women to have "a room of their own", they would have to have extremely wealthy parents. Woolf also brings up a lot of other interesting points, such as Judith Shakespeare (William Shakespeare's sister, a fictional character she created for the essay). What if this woman did exist with the same talent as her brother? It would not matter, because her gift would be denied to her because women are not granted the same opportunities as men. 

I don't want to spoil the rest of the essay, so I won't give anymore of it away. However, it really is interesting to see Woolf's arguments pan out in today's society. Being financially secure enough to write is still an issue among many people, especially women, however, could J.K. Rowling have written Harry Potter if she was not starving and forcing herself to use her talent as a means of survival? It's possible, but she proved that she could write, even while on welfare and as a single mother at that.  However, she didn't use her full name Joanna Kathleen Rowling, instead she choose to use J.K. Rowling .Why? Because J.K. could be anyone, where Joanna is a recognizable female name. Still proving that women are denied a lot of the same literary opportunities (not to mention loads of others) as men, even in our modern society. 

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6 Musings

  1. So loved the review. A lot to think on about how literary works..like P.L. Treavors and Mary Poppins.

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  2. I always found Wolfe so interesting. And she was such a character herself. Great review!

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  3. Oh...you find so many interesting things on such a chilly day. It was great to read this.

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  4. Good for you. This is a classic book. Our society still hasn't achieved gender-equality yet, so everyone needs to know how to analyze the lingering inequality.

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  5. i need to read this. writing comes from experiences. it has to come from the root to be successful. this is so inspiring. thanks for sharing.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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  6. I like the fact that you related J.K. Rowling's from-rags-to-riches type story in your review. It's true; by using her initials you're unaware of whether the author is female or male. Not only does such a strategy offer more opportunities; it also makes the work appealing to males and females {some males won't read books written by females for belief that they're too girlish}.

    xx

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Talk nerdy to me.