…Points from each chapter to take note of:
Virginia woolf wrote this essay when she was asked to lecture in reputed college of women. The form of the novel uses the essay as well as the fiction form.
The author explores the condition of the women in the earlier times. She says that if only our mothers and their mothers had left us some money, women wouldn’t have the need to be dependent and could use the freedom that money offers in other activities such as writing etc.
- In this chapter Virginia woolf decides do some research on the writings by women, but she is surprised to find that there so many books written on women by men but next to nothing books written by women
- She finds that in each and every book the male writer tries to tell that are women inferior to men. This according to wolf is in order to make themselves look superior. She says that women have served as looking glasses for centuries now!
- She also notices that the society has always been patriarchal in nature and hence is one of the reasons why women have been curbed.
- In fact women were always considered in the domestic scene and even there their contributions were barely considered of any importance at all.
- Another point that she mentions is that ‘women as the protected sex’. She says if only people stopped considering women as the protected sex, women would be freer to do things that they want to and the society would also be more open towards them.
- In this chapter wolf tries to look for the information on women’s life during the Elizabethian times. She finds absolutely no record of their lives. There were no literary works by women of those times.
- Wolf tries to see the influence of the society’s views about women on women. She imagines Judith, Shakespeare’s imaginary sister with the same genius as him. She would definitely not be allowed to write and would either have to surrender to the society’s norms or else suffer an unpleasant ending.
- The attitude of the society towards women writing was not indifference but scorn, which was much more difficult to handle than indifference (which many male writers had to face such as Keats.)
- There were absolutely no contributions by women in other art forms also, such as music, painting etc.
- · Woolf says that women had to face so much opposition from the society that they themselves began to think that they couldn’t write.
- · In the 18th century however women began to earn (they could inherit property of their own, which wasn’t the case earlier). Middle class began to write.
- · Women mainly wrote novels because of the fooling reasons:
- 1) It was the only form which was new and had no steadfast rules set by the earlier writers.
- 2) Women could not afford the amount of concentration required to write poetry
- 3) The kind of environment that they were surrounded in provided them with themes suitable for writing novels
- 4) The most important things that Virginia wolf here talks about is the significance of having a room of their own ( which stood for privacy) and 2000 pounds a year ( which would provide women with the leisure and peace of mind to write more)
- In this chapter wolf looks at the writings by women in the present times. She picks up a book by Mary Charmichael called ‘The life’s adventure’.
- She notices that Miss Charmichael had tread on an unexplored concept, women in relationship with women. For so long women were seen only with respect to men and for the first time women were seen with respect to women i.e. what sort of relationships did women share with each other without the interference of men?
Virginia woolf concludes that:
- · A writer is good only if can write without being influenced by his own personal thoughts. To do this a person must be androgynous in the mind. That is, either they should be woman-manly or man-womanly.
- · Finally she urges the women present to write more as this would serve as the foundation for the other women writers to write more.
The main concept to concentrate on is obviously feminism and how this book is viewed as the first in the movement of feminism.