A Room Of One's Own, By Virignia Woolf

2138 words - 9 pages

In A Room of One’s Own, Virignia Woolf presents her views evenly and without a readily apparent suggestion of emotion. She treads softly over topics that were considered controversial in order to be taken seriously as an author, woman, and intellectual. Woolf ensures this by the use of humor, rationalization, and finally, through the art of diversion and deflection. By doing this Woolf is able to not alienate her audience but instead create a diplomatic atmosphere, as opposed to one of hostility that would assuredly separate the opinions of much of her audience. As Woolf herself says, “If you stop to curse you are lost” (Woolf 93). Because of this, anger is not given full sovereignty but instead is selected to navigate the sentiments of her audience where she wills with composed authority and fascinating rhetoric. That being said, Woolf is not without fault. She occasionally slips up and her true feelings spill through. Woolf employs a stream-of-consciousness narrative, satire, and irony to express her anger towards male-controlled culture in what is deemed a more socially acceptable way than by out rightly saying that they suck.
The style of writing that Woolf is best known for is that of the stream-of-consciousness. When considering why she chose to write A Room of One’s Own using a stream-of-consciousness narrative, it should be taken into account the purpose of the frequent interruptions that occur for the speaker. She is stopped by an Oxbridge beadle for walking on the lawn of the college and in due course forgets what she was contemplating. She says, “The only charge I could bring against the Fellows and Scholars of whatever the college might happen to be was that in protection of their turf, which has been rolled for 300 years in succession, they had sent my little fish into hiding.” (Woolf 6) The speaker states that her idea had no real importance, but seeing as it has been irretrievably lost there is no real way to know. By interrupting the speaker’s thoughts, the beadle not only forces her to change her route physically but also to steer her contemplations away from the previous topic, women and fiction. She travels from a mental landscape from which she is the creator and only occupant to a physical landscape where she is an outsider, a trespasser upon space solely for the male intellect. Thus, the appearance of the beadle jars the narrative and brings it back into a male-dominated context; the very act of barring a woman from the turf becomes an act of vehemence. Other such instances that interrupt the narrator’s train of thought at Oxbridge are similarly aggressive and abrupt in the staff’s incessant repeating that she does not belong there. It should be noted that the interruption always leads to the reframing of the speaker’s story so that she is once more considered an inconsequential piece against the backdrop of male scholarship.
While Woolf may fleetingly express and provoke anger, she swiftly diverts the attention away...

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