An Introduction to Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own – A Macat Literature Analysis


Welcome to the Macat Multimedia Series. A
Macat Analysis of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. “A woman must have money – and a room
of her own – if she is to write fiction.” That famous line, written by the British novelist
Virginia Woolf, tackled head on the question of why men, rather than women, had authored
a large proportion of the greatest works of literature. Writing in 1929, Woolf argued
that the future of women’s participation in art and literature depended on altering
deeply entrenched ideas about their capabilities and ‘suitable’ aspirations.
Her essay A Room of One’s Own spoke of education as the key to women’s emancipation. Woolf
thought education could provide women with a voice they could use to contribute to culture,
and sought to highlight the discrepancies between what men and women can hope to achieve
in a patriarchal society. The central idea of her essay was that women
have not been given the space in which to think, read and develop as intellectuals.
Excluded for centuries from participation in public life, and rendered dependent on
men for financial security – she noted – women have historically lacked both the material
means and the legal freedom to voice their own ideas.
Woolf illustrates her point by inventing a fictional female character: Shakespeare’s
sister, Judith. In contrast to her brother, William, Judith
does not have the opportunity to go to school, nor is she encouraged in her efforts to read
or write. Instead, she finds herself trapped in the
home, where she is actively discouraged from pursuing creative goals.
Predictably, Judith never writes down her thoughts – so her ideas go unexpressed,
to be lost in history. Woolf’s essay suggests that William Shakespeare’s
success was not solely the product of his talent. He was offered opportunities to explore
and expand his creative calling – by participating in education and public life – and the chance
of earning a living as a professional writer. Woolf saw all of these factors vital to Shakespeare’s
success. Had he been born a woman, he would not have
had the opportunity to write, and we as a culture would have missed out on a great deal
of poetry, plays and influence. Judith Shakespeare was created by Woolf as
a metaphor – she shows the displacement of women from literature and the arts, from
public life and culture. The silencing of her character serves to remind readers of
the limitations that society has historically placed on women.
But, we are invited to wonder, how many literary greats might have been – if only aspiring
women writers had been granted the same chances as their male counterparts?
Today, Woolf’s essay is still studied as a foundational contribution to modern feminist
thought. A more detailed examination of her ideas can
be found in the Macat Analysis.

16 thoughts on “An Introduction to Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own – A Macat Literature Analysis

  • March 7, 2016 at 9:26 pm
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    I found the explanation very useful; I'm Italian and reading Woolf's works in English can be pretty hard sometimes, so thanks a lot for sharing this video! It was super helpful ☺️

    Reply
  • May 24, 2016 at 2:40 pm
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    I really apreciate this explanation. I'm brazilian and for me is too hard reading Virginia Woolf's works. This explanationa was very helpful. Thanks a lot!

    Reply
  • October 20, 2016 at 12:23 am
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    Great explanation.

    Reply
  • December 12, 2016 at 9:51 am
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    👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👑👑👑👑

    Reply
  • December 12, 2016 at 9:52 am
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    good explanation

    Reply
  • May 7, 2017 at 1:10 pm
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    A great introduction to Woolf.

    Reply
  • October 2, 2017 at 3:16 am
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    Wow this is such an eye opener. I’m American and I’m in 11th grade and I was struggling to read this book for IB English but this really helped me hone into what I needed to look for as I annotated

    Reply
  • June 12, 2018 at 6:28 am
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    👌

    Reply
  • July 13, 2018 at 7:38 pm
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    Love virginia woolf's essay..

    Reply
  • July 13, 2018 at 7:38 pm
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    Try the common reader..

    Reply
  • October 13, 2018 at 5:24 am
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    Same old story, what you have earned is not deserved because someone else should have had it if they weren't so "oppressed."

    Reply
  • December 4, 2018 at 1:18 pm
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    please intha storyya thamilla translate pannunga

    Reply
  • February 18, 2019 at 11:41 am
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    Hello I'm from Brazil. What can I do to have subtitles in English? I think it's a beautiful job and I wanted to see them, thanks…

    Reply
  • May 4, 2019 at 3:54 pm
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    Alguém pode dublar para português, fazendo um favor?

    Reply
  • May 8, 2019 at 4:38 am
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    Blackfriar is a virginia gem.

    Reply
  • September 6, 2019 at 8:40 pm
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    A really effective presentation of the above mentioned literary work.I highly appreciate your effort.Keep it up !

    Reply

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