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Virginia Woolf’s a Room of one’s Own and Brontë’s Jane Eyre

Essay by   •  July 27, 2019  •  Course Note  •  337 Words (2 Pages)  •  50 Views

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In Virginia Woolf’s long essay, A Room of One’s Own, she creates an imaginary character, Judith Shakespeare, to illustrate the gender inequalities and difficulties that a woman will face and in turns criticizes the world’s indifference and hostility towards women. Woolf thinks that Judith Shakespeare, although as talented as her brother, William Shakespeare, cannot write literary works and achieve success like him. First of all, Judith Shakespeare, as a girl, has no chance of education, and her parents will not like the idea of her “mooning about books and papers” all day as well. Secondly, when she becomes an adult, her parents will arrange her marriage that she has not a right to refuse, and she will be confined as someone’s wife. Even if she escapes the marriage, Woolf states, to fulfill her dream in a theatre, men do not respect her and value her talents but guffaw.

These difficulties illustrate the predicament of a woman at that time and Woolf later explains what causes gender inequality are the world’s indifference and hostility. Women, for long, have not been encouraged to be educated and pursue independence. Most people regard it to be of no importance and not of their own business. Some even show hostility towards women and think women are inferior then men. Because of the world’s disapproval, some female writers are suppressed and dare not present their literary work under their real names. They work may go unsigned or pseudonyms are used. Charlotte Brontë, for example, chooses to use a neutral pen name for her work to avoid unfair patriarchal criticism. In Brontë’s novel, Jane Eyre, she illustrates the gender inequalities that oppress women at that time as well. Women’s social status is low and there are few job opportunities for them. Also, Bertha, Mr. Rochester’s wife, treated cruelly by him, is locked in an attic for almost her whole life, which presents an image of an oppressed woman at that time.

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