|Type of paper:
|English literature Modernist literature
In the essay "A Room of One's Own," Virginia expounds on her opinion that women required money and a room of their own to write fiction. In the essay, she develops themes depicting the oppression and suppression of women in a male dominated society using a fictional story (Maggie 146). The narrator builds the main arguments around past writings depicting men and women relationships. She develops these arguments using a fictional narrator who delves through various past writings and describes her major encounters with men in various social-economic aspects of life. The essay describes a society of wealth privileged men and the plight of women in a struggle to improve their social and economic welfare (Spivak 207). Wealth privileges for men in the past patriarchal societies resulted in gender inequalities that stirred up a continuous class struggle among women striving for equality in various socioeconomic aspects of life.
The theme of Class Struggle
The issue of class struggles runs through various arguments in the essay. As the female narrator walks through a lawn in the Oxbridge male college, excited by a thought, she treasured, a male university guard stops her. The guard reminds her that that only fellows and scholars are allowed to walk on the lawn, and she walks away on the gravel. This occurrence shows the discrimination of women in the patriarchal society that entitles a man to prestigious things and excludes women from socioeconomic privileges (Spivak 211). The narrator amuses at the thought of reading an essay by Charles Lamb and Thackeray's novel, "Esmond." available in the Oxbridge college library. However, she was barred from accessing the library and the writings just because she was a woman. It denied her the chance to join the literary world that she treasured. These occurrences stir's an internal struggle evidenced by her described anger as she walks away from the library. It represents the struggle of women seeking to form part of the literary world (Maggie 146).
In another scene, the imaginary Shakespeare's sister Judith is prevented by her parents from reading. In protest, she hides at times and reads some of her brother's books. These acts of protest show that the barriers erected by the society preventing women from accessing literary materials or any formal education stirred continuous struggle for equality in the academic world (Maggie 151). The narrator in the essay also demonstrates a class struggle for dominance between men and women in a scene in a London library. She laments her inability to compete with a fellow male student in research due to the lack of previous skills. It portrays a class struggle among women committed to attaining academic prowess to match or outshine men (Spivak 214). The narrators drawn portrait of an agitated male professor helps her recognize the source of her anger against male scholars. She discovered that it originated from the scholar's description of women as inferior. The newspaper she read afterward informed her that the view of a woman as inferior to man existed beyond the academic field. Women were portrayed as inferior to man in several other aspects of social life such as politics and sports.
The narrator casually describes a historic achievement of women struggle for social and political equality marked by the allowing of women to vote (Woolf 97). She downplays the significance of a woman's vote in securing their freedom but instead emphasized on access to economic resources such as finance as the source of real freedom for men. According to her, the five hundred pounds' annual allowance she inherited from her aunt Mary Beton provided more freedom from men dependence compared to a woman vote (Maggie 160).
The theme of Wealth Privileges for Men
The essay also describes a society that privileges men to acquire, and accumulate wealth while excluding women from direct economic benefits (Maggie 165). The narrator contemplates about the well-established Oxbridge University due to financial support offered by previous male students earning a lot of money upon graduating. It emphasizes the importance of economic power in self-preservation and the development of robust social systems (Spivak 220). Through the narrator, we also learn of the wealth privileges for male students in the Oxbridge college compared to their female counterparts in the women college. She passionately describes the prestigious meals that include wine enjoyed in the male college while she only gets soup for dinner in a women's college. The scene emphasizes on the prestige men enjoy due to their wealth privileges and the unfortunate position or plight of women associated with exclusion from direct economic benefits (Spivak 229).
Mary Seton describes her long struggle with humiliating fundraising efforts to keep the women college running (Woolf 102). Women have limited avenues for earning money making it difficult for them to run successful women empowering projects. At times women desperately turn to men for economic assistance whenever the need arises (Maggie 170). Trevelyan's "History of England" expounds on this argument where Shakespeare's fictional sister Judith, runs away from her family to avoid an early marriage she did not want and pursue her acting and writing dreams (Woolf 115). She joins an acting group as an actor, but constant rejection by the male audience frustrates her efforts. The actor-group manager used his wealth privileges to convince Judith to sleep with him after promising to support her course. The manager impregnated Judith a factor that killed her writing and acting dreams prompting her to commit suicide. It demonstrates that wealth privileged men take advantage of the socioeconomically disadvantaged women depriving them the ability to improve their welfare (Spivak 233). Therefore, it is evident that wealth privileges for men in the patriarchal society stirred up a class struggle among women seeking socioeconomic equality regarding access to education, voting rights, economic resources among others.
Humm, Maggie. A readers' guide to contemporary feminist literary criticism. Routledge, 2015.Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. In other worlds: Essays in cultural politics. Routledge, 2012.
Woolf, Virginia. A room of one's own and three guineas. OUP Oxford, 2015.
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Free Essay: Wealth Privileges and Class Struggle Depicted in "A Room of One's Own" by Virginia Woolf. (2022, Sep 14). Retrieved from https://speedypaper.com/essays/free-essay-wealth-privileges-and-class-struggle-depicted-in-a-room-of-ones-own-by-virginia-woolf
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