A Room of One's Own is one of the fictional writings by Virginia Woolf. The book was first published in 1929 with subsequent editions of the book appearing in the following years. The main underlying basis of this literary work is that the author employs fictional narration to explore women both as writers of and characters in fiction. In a general context, the essay is seen as a feminist text that which tries to advocate for a literal and figural space for women writers within a literary tradition dominated by patriachy. According to Marcus, the title of the essay is seen to have been influenced by Woolf’s perception that 'a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction'(pp, 33). According to Woolf, women have not been actively participating in writing because of their relatively poor conditions. Going by the author’s perception, we can conclude that financial freedom will bring women the freedom to write. During the earlier, days, for a woman to have a room of her won was exceptionally a rare occurrence and was only experienced if the parents of the woman were rich and noble.
The dramatic setting of A Room of One’s Own is that Virginia Woolf has been invited to give a public lecture to college students on the tiopic women and fiction. This resuklts to the author advancing the thesis that one of the fundamental basis of fiction writitng for women is that a woman must have a room of her own. This essay is partly wriitten in both a realistsic and fictional manner make it very difficult to disinguish the two in most occurences in the book. Some of the characters used in the essay also tend to question the ability of the audience to differentiate between fictiona and real characters. Woolf dramatizes that mental process in the character of an imaginary narrator ("call me Mary Beton, Mary Seton, Mary Carmichael or by any name you please—it is not a matter of any importance")(pp.19) In the beginign, the author conducts an analysis regarding both men and women expiriences at Oxfod collge whwre she reflects on the opportunities available to men as compared to the opportubities availabkle to women. She then spends a day at the British Libaray tryign to analyse some of the books written by men which seem to contain some angaer in writing. However, history does not allow her to have enough material on thye lives of women and their expiriences with respect to educational opportunities. This prompts her to reconstruct the lives of women in an imaginative manner.
Woolf’s father is also seen to exist in the line of thinking similar to the basic perception at the time that only the boys of the family should be sent to school. This was going by the fact that Woolf’s father did not believe in investing in the girl child through education. This is the main reason why Woolf was left without the experience of formal education. In the essay, Woolf tries to pass a message to women who have access to learning opportunities. Woolf lets the people know that education is very important in modern society and that a total disregard of the importance of education will undoubtedly have a negative impact in life.
In the last chapters of the book, Woolf tries to describe some of the works of some fictional writers. In describing the fictional writer Mary Carmichael, Woolf invokes lesbianism. "Then may I tell you that the very next words I read were these – 'Chloe liked Olivia...'(pp 74) Woolf tries to connect with the audience in an aspect of reality indicating that it is a fundamental fact in our society today that sometime women do like other women. The approach taken by Woolf in her writing in discussing lesbianism is that women student in college are the best audience for such a sensitive issue affecting the society. Woolf keeps referencing the obscenity trial and public uproar that was as a result of the publication of Radclyfe Hall's lesbian-themed novel, The Well of Lonelinss.
The author ties to explain why most of the women in her times did not manage to write any form of fiction while men were capable of creating songs or sonnet. The other main issue that Woolf considers to be of limitation in making women fail to achieve their target in offering much in writing is prejudice. She illustrates that in order to make various significant changes and solve the problems related with women and fiction; there is a need to get rid of the prejudice related with this issue. Woolf illustrates that whenever the issue of sex rise on matters related to writings, the audience tends to see the limitations of the writer especially in a case that concerns a woman. On her book she illustrates, “….one can only show how one came to hold whatever opinion one does hold. One can only give once audience the chance of drawing their own conclusions as they observe the limitations, the prejudice and the idiosyncrasies of the speaker. Fiction here is likely to contain more truth than fact” (Woolf 4). This gives the reason that in order for women to have an opportunity of writing fiction, they have an obligation of having a room of themselves. A room that they will manage to have an opportunity of getting financial support and appreciation that they require.
Woolf depicts that one of the significant issues that has contributed in failure of women in giving the required contribution is that they do not accept that they can make it all alone by their selves without the help of men. The mentality that men are the main providers of the family tend to make most of the married women to relax in participating in various activities that require much time and dedication like writing. Other limitation that most of the married women encounters include the decisions made by their husbands who tend to oppose any effort that relate to writing. This is the reason that contributes to the fact that women need to have their own money and room in order to have financial support and space in writing fiction. The author argues that instead of denying women the opportunity to express what they can be able to perform, the society and family members ought to allow them to engage in the activities that would help them generate financial help. On their case, women have the obligation of engaging in all the activities that the society considers they only belong to men. This will help them make more money that may even help them to engage in the writing fiction.
In another section of the book, Woolf invents a fictional character Judith, "Shakespeare's sister,” She uses this character to try and paint aclaer picture that a woman with Shakespeare's gifts would have been denied the opportunity to develop her gift of writing going by the fact that women like Woolf were supposed to remain on closed doors while her brothers went to school. With respect to the said character, Judith remains at home while her brother Julius goes to school like tradition dictated at the time. This is despite of the fact that Judith was adventurous and imaginative and couldn’t wait to experience the world. However while Julius is learning, Judith on the other hand is chastised be her parents should she happen to pick a book. The contrast that exists between Julius and Judith is that while Julius establishes himself, Judith is trapped by the confines of the expectations of women.
The fgure of Judith Shakespere is used to try and demonstrate the tragic fate a highly intelligent woman would have met with under those circumstances. Under the circumstances, Woolf tries to evaluate tehe achieveemnst of the women wriiters in the 19th centure and how the success of these writers affects aspiring writers in modenr society. The main argument behind this is that considring that these women were successful depsite the challenges that they had to overcome with respect to the opportunities they had in the society, there is no clear explanation as to why modern women whould not suceeed not only in writing and educational matters but alos in life. Woolf closes the essay with an exhortation to her audience of women to take up the tradition that has been so hardly bequeathed to them, and to increase the endowment for their own daughters.