Reaction reading to “A Room of One’s Own” by Virginia Woolf

As I begin to read “A Room of One’s Own” by Virginia Woolf, i find myself wondering if I can even comprehend the words that she is saying. I know it is English that she writes but it is old time English, in which can be very arduous to comprehend her exact meaning. Not to mention it seemed she repeated herself, A LOT.

For the most part I understand how she claims that there is not much knowledge of female life, and how women had been poorly portrayed by authors and and poets until the 18th century. This must be frustrating for women looking back into the ages, to not be able to understand what they went through and how women were treated. I could only wrap my mind around parts of her excerpt, and the only reason I could do that is because I have had a fascination with English/literature throughout the years, so I knew what she spoke of when she was “name-dropping” past characters and authors.  All in all I could not even make it through the entire passage. But what i retained from the material is how difficult it must have been for women in the 18th century.

Considering the author Mary Shelly (of Frankenstein) happened in the 19th century, and Emily Dickinson in the same century. The only artistic woman I could remember was Sappho in ancient Greece who wrote poetry. Aside from that I am quite happy that I live in the time in which I can actually write and be recognized for it, but there is still a long road for female directors and producers. A world I plan on being a part of.



~Jacki K

2 comments on “Reaction reading to “A Room of One’s Own” by Virginia Woolf

  1. V.W. was speaking to well-read women college students, so they would have known most of the writers of whom she was speaking. What did you think of her assertion that the women in literature (written by men) were vibrant and powerful, something totally opposite to the reality of their lives? What is the purpose of that fantasy given the reality of women’s lives? Shakespeare’s sister Joan illustrates the limitations that women must have faced, the constrictions that circumscribed their lives. And what about the Bishop (there’s the Church again) saying that no woman could ever equal Shakespeare’s genius? Could her point be to argue that is true, given the way culture controlled their lives?

  2. Great illustrations and research. They really add to your response. The points you raised are debatable from several sides. Of course, any woman who bases most of her sense of self on her appearance has first to be attractive to begin with (according to society’s standards) and it also helps to be young. What happens to women in a culture that values them almost solely on their looks, especially as they age? Once you’re forty, forget it? We hold up celebrities as examples of women beyond forty as attractive, but they have unlimited funds and time to spend on plastic surgery, botox, juvederm etc. They have stylists, hair dressers, personal shoppers etc. Most women can’t compete with that. And when it’s all said and done, women will still be reviled for aging and for trying to turn back the clock (remember the snide remarks about Nancy Pelosi and face lifts)?So long as sexuality is something that women enjoy, as long as it’s authentic and relates to their own sexual satisfaction (rather than mere display), then of course human females will and should enjoy their sexuality. If it stays in the realm of display, that may be an issue, if not at first, then at last.

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