About Virginia Woolf’s Works

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In much of Virginia Woolf’s works, she identifies women’s disadvantages through the use of literary devices that she incorporates into a world which is unstable or unsatisfactory. In Professions for Women, Woolf describes the inequality of the world she resides in, and the instability that women have been accustomed to due to their lack of aspiration to become greater. She blames not only men for the disadvantages that women have encountered, but she also blames women in this society as well, and explains that they should desire more for themselves just as she had. Through this, it can be considered credible that Woolf would often make the mistake of thinking that something that is obvious to [her] is just as obvious to everyone else (Adichie 3). With the education that she had been privileged to obtain, Woolf was confident in projecting her thoughts and ideas into an essay that would be read by others. The things that she could see would obviously not relate to other individuals as in her time, women silenced themselves from projecting thoughts, for whatever reason one woman may have had for doing so. Virginia Woolf personally has been a renowned author who struggled with mental instabilities, which lead to her ultimately tragic suicide.

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It can be considered that Woolf went throughout her life being continually misunderstood by everyone around her. Woolf did not relate to any of the women in the society of the period in which she was born. Instead of conforming to what was typical or accepted by men and women of this time, she strived to educate others of the greater things that life had to offer. Despite this, and her constant promotion of independence of and for women, people today continue to conform to the old norms of the society Woolf was so ashamed of. The author continually addresses how a woman should be, in her eyes, and in the eyes of the public. As she identifies with the woman she believes to be ideal, she is unable to relate to others, who are content with their state of being. Woolf also blames both genders for being the reason as to why women have faced so much oppression. However, it is unknown as to why she blames everyone for all faults in life if women and men both can support themselves. The mind of a woman differs greatly from the mind of a man, and the true nature of the difference was just beginning to become apparent; women for the first time, [were able] to live their own lives (Liem). If a woman is completely able to take care of herself, and refuses to do it, at this instance it is a personal choice. It can be considered that women are completely aware of their capabilities, but rather than go out on their own, they prefer the easier lifestyle of taking care of the home and children while their husbands go off to work. Women have followed these procedures for centuries, regardless of access to education, or having been oppressed or looked down upon in society.

In her paper, “Professions for Women,” Woolf grasps a practical piece of self-recognition by using symbolism, parallelism, and a division among herself and an apparition which made a failure to outline a common character with others, that provoked the fault for her flimsiness in various domains. Virginia Woolf believes that the views of society on individuals make it harder for women to obtain what they need. Women can endeavor to accomplish their most elevated objective and it generally appears as though there is something in the way that makes it significantly more hard to acquire. Individuals desire to be prepared for anything that may be endured in life, although this ideal is imperfect. Woolf praises the idealism of feminism, and the idea of women being able to obtain an education and a career that will enable them to support themselves. Unfortunately for Woolf, she is one of the only women in her time that feels that this is a error that must be corrected, or at least one of the only women who have spoken about their desire for independence. Woolf relates the Angel in the House as the anticipated ideal in which she refuses to meet, what society wants her to become but what she runs away from. She is running from the identity that she has grown accustomed to. In a study on her essay, Professions for Women, Woolf is described have ambivalence about [her own] childlessness (Hussey). This suggests that by accentuating what she believes she knows with the knowledge she has, Woolf really is going above herself in hopes to make herself to be more than she actually is.

Additionally, she discusses what she believes a woman should be, as opposed to the ideal that has been created by society. She talks of how her opinion is the only solution for women to become prosperous, and to amount to more in life than what they’ve been objectified as. This accounts to more of Woolf’s identity formation, or lack thereof, as she creates an ideal of her own that she expects others to follow, but in a way does not seem to sure of it herself. She believes that women must be independent, without a man, but had no previous employment history to show that she is proof of her desires. Through the exhibition of an allusion, Woolf shows the hardships that women must endure in order to reach the point of salvation – one where she defines what it is like to have a mind and opinion of one’s own. Woolf broadcasts her desire to identify with other women through her journey of self-discovery and self-realization of how women are supposed to be, and how she believes they are to be. Due to her inability to relate to others, and the potential unreliability of her own character, it is believable that she experiences a crisis with her identity, and who she thinks she is. Inevitably, Woolf was looking for someone to blame for her instability and incapacity to identify with others – she blamed society, men, and women for this reason, although the only person who would not conform was herself.

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About Virginia Woolf's works. (2019, Dec 31). Retrieved January 31, 2023 , from

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