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Breaking Convention In A Room Of One's Own

1333 words - 5 pages

Breaking Convention in A Room of One's Own

New discoveries and exciting breakthroughs are all made at the expense of contradicting old rules and ideas. In order for Earth to be round, it could no longer be flat. Revolutions in literature, science, and countries are always filled with conflicts and contradictions to traditional conventions. In this sense, Virgina Woolf's essay A Room of One's Own can be called a revolution. Woolf breaks nearly all the rules of essay writing in her argumentative essay. She addresses the reader in the first person, tells the reader that she is lying, focuses on unnecessary details, and even contradicts herself from time to time. Why does Woolf, a competent writer, decide to write this way? Perhaps, her unorthodox style supports her perception on the difficulties that exists in women becoming serious writers. Her writing style constructs a relationship between her essay and women writers; it shows the reader that for women to become a writer without a "a room of one's own" is just as unconventional as her writing style. With both her words and her unique writing style, Woolf presents her view on women's writing.

In a serious essay, a point or an argument should be made. This is why a writer writing a serious essay finds it necessary to shower his reader with logical reasons and facts. A typical writer wants the reader to examine, if not accept, the writer's point of view; however, Woolf claims that "lies will flow from [her] lips" in her essay.(720) Not too many writers will come right out and tell their readers that they intend to lie in their essays. The persuasiveness of an essay is not going to be enhanced by having the writer admit that he is lying. Because writers want to be as factual and logical as possible in their argumentative essays, it is also a general rule for the writer to avoid speaking in the more opinionated first person point of view. Again Woolf decides to operate against the convention. She writes her whole essay in the first person, making her essay feel very much like a diary. This is not commonly believed to be effective writing, and for an eminent writer such as Woolf to write in this manner is puzzling.

At various points in her essay, Woolf breaks so many of the conventional rules that the reader might wonder whether or not she realize what she is doing. Woolf's mistakes may have been deemed as excusable if she claimed them to be just that; however, this scenario fails when she states in the essay that she is conscious of what she is doing. In talking about the luncheon Woolf admits that "it is part of the novelist's convention not to mention soup and salmon and ducklings," but "[she] shall take the liberty to defy that convention" and talk in detail of the food.(723-724) Woolf shows the reader that she knows that she is straying away from the conventional style of writing, but she is not about to change her ways. Woolf even makes the catastrophic mistake of contradicting...

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