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Virginia Woolf's Underlying Attitute Towards Womens Role In Society Based Upon Her Detailed Descriptions Of The Meals At A Men And Womens College In "A Room Of One's Own"

720 words - 3 pages

Virginia Woolf, acknowledged as one of the greatest female writers of her time, and ours, wrote two essays in which she attended the meals of a men's and women's university. In the first passage, Woolf describes an extravagant luncheon at a men's college, using long and flowing sentences to express the seamless opulence of the "many and various retinue[s]" displayed at the convention. On the other hand, in the second passage Woolf illustrates a bland, plain, and institutional-like dining hall. It was nothing special, and nothing great, only a poor regimen of "human nature's daily food." Woolf's contrasting diction, detail, syntax and manipulative language in these two passages convey her underlying attitude and feelings of anger and disappointment towards women's place in an unequal, male dominated society.In the beginning of the first passage, Woolf introduces us to the lavish lifestyle where benefits, superiority, and greatness are indulged in by men. As Woolf starts describing the meal, she also begins to notice her surroundings, uncovering minor details of the luncheon such as the "deep" dishes, and the "whitest cream" denoting vast quantities and the purest finery. These small details, ironically, represent men's opportunities in life. The deep dishes filled with their "many and various, all [the] retinue, the sharp and the sweet..." represent a man's many choices in life, and the "whitest cream" connoting the highest qualities. Yet, not only are these opportunities "many and various", but they are also endless. This can be accounted for in Woolf's comparison of a man's life with that of the wineglasses used during the meal. For as one glass "had been emptied, [one] had been filled", like that of man's continuously refilled chances and opportunities for success. It is almost as if (for men), when one door closes, another opens; fulfilling their lives as great, if not greater, than the last open door- or in this case, wineglass. Lastly, and more importantly, is the comfort of these beneficial accommodations. For men, there is "No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself." Expressing Woolf's idea that these opportunities will always be available (therefore, there is...

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