Opening Question: To what extent do fears dictate one’s life?
Fears are an overwhelming aspect of our life from birth until old age. Whether we fear an object such as something lying underneath the bed, a certain figure such as Michael Myers, or an intangible idea such as the future or even death, fear always exists. In several cases, fear leads to a suppression of one’s self and the wonderful ideas that one’s minds may contain. For example, the cure to cancer could very well be trapped inside the mind of someone who has been constantly oppressed and taught to believe that they are not smart enough to get far in life. In “Professions for Women,” author Virginia Woolf persuades her audience, intellectual women, to overcome her insecurities in order to improve her life. To soundly achieve this purpose, Woolf utilizes rhetorical questions, an extended metaphor, and allusion.
Core Question 1: On the last paragraph on page 360, Woolf asks (regarding “rooms of your own in the house”), “How are you going to furnish it, how are you going to decorate it? With whom are you going to share it with, and upon what terms?” What is the purpose of including these rhetorical questions?
Woolf utilizes a rhetorical question in order to develop her call to action, which is that women should overcome their fears and express themselves. In the last paragraph, she states, “But this freedom is only a beginning; the room is your own, but it is still bare. It was to be furnished; it has to be decorated; it has to be shared. How are you going to furnish it, how are you going to decorate it? With whom are you going to share it, and upon what terms?” The author is building upon the metaphor of life being like a room; it should not be bare, for a bare room signifies emptiness and loneliness. She implores her audience to consider the implications of an empty room and consequently causes them to connect to her argument and follow her purpose. Woolf asks several seemingly-overwhelming questions in a few quick lines in order to appeal to her audience’s emotions. By asking women so many important questions, women are more likely to question their own “rooms”. In her essay, a room symbolizes life. Keeping a room empty connotes a sense of loneliness and lack of personality. If a woman does not do important things within her life or speak her mind, her life will appear bare to all those around her. When she dies, it will appear as if she has done nothing to make a difference in the world or to improve her own well-being. Woolf consistently attempts to persuade women into overcoming their insecurities, which can block women from voicing their opinions. According to the author, women must overcome these obstacles if they want to feel as if their life has had any sense of purpose. This shows that a series of rhetorical questions are asked in order to develop the essay’s purpose and, particularly, its call to action because it directly implores the audience by asking them whether...