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The Life And Literature Of Virginia Woolf

1626 words - 7 pages

Literature is a reflection of the society in that the issues presented in artworks reflect the issues in a certain society at a particular time in history. In order to understand the artworks of a particular author or artist, one needs to look into the circumstances which prevail or prevailed in the societies in which these producers of works of art live or lived. In essence, one needs to understand the author’s background as well as the context in which the art work is based. Context may be divided into three categories which include the historical, social, and geographical settings which define an art work. Historical setting covers the time period in which an artwork is set and is ...view middle of the document...

Virginia was married to Leonard Woolf and is alleged to have led a lesbian life with several lady partners. Due to her depression moments, she attempted to commit suicide until she finally succeeded. In April 1941, Virginia drowned herself in a river by putting stones in her sweater. Woolf is remembered as a prolific writer of the twentieth century and a study of her artworks reveal that the events in her life influenced her literature.
Research indicates that Woolf hated the patriarchal society of her time and resented that she was denied the chance to attend formal school despite the fact that her brothers were autonomously sent to one of the best university in England. In her novel, “To the Lighthouse”, Woolf points out the common view that women can neither paint nor write as suggested through the comments of Charles Tansley. In this novel, however, women are excellent at taking care of children and their husband as is the case with Mrs. Ramsay. Mrs. Ramsay is able to comfort her son, James, when Mr. Ramsay coldly tells him that the weather is foul and they cannot visit the lighthouse (Woolf 259). She is also able to comfort her husband who wants to be reassured of her love by agreeing with him that the weather will be foul the next day. The views presented in this novel are consistent with the late nineteenth and early twentieth century England. During the Victorian era and in the early years of the twentieth century, women were expected to stay at home and take care of their families (Marcus 205). This view is further cemented by the fact that Lily Briscoe, the woman who can paint, opts to stay single; she does not conform to popular views and traditions.
Woolf’s negative views of the patriarchal societal and its demeaning effects of women are further presented in “A Room of One’s Own”. In this extended essay, Woolf expresses opinions of how women in the sixteenth century might have been denied the chance to be independent and showcase their talents. She writes that such a woman “would have certainly gone crazed, shot herself, or ended her days in some lonely cottage outside the village, half witch, half wizard, feared and mocked,” (Woolf 49). This statement reveals that talented women were viewed as masculine and crazy to the extent of being viewed as half male half female (half witch half wizard). In the same essay she predicts that there will come a time when women will no longer be tied to societal limits; they will be free from all bondage and be able to enjoy the privileges that were previously denied to them (Woolf 40). This essay was probably motivated by the educational experiences and the fact that she was denied formal education. During the late nineteenth century, women were treated as the protected sex and kept from accessing social amenities because it was believed they could get all the skills on being good wives from “homeschooling” (Phegley 6-9).
Death was another significant experience that shaped the writing of...

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