Lesson Four Professions for Women by Virginia Woolf. Virginia Adeline Woolf (1882 — 1941). English novelist, critic, and essayist Works: The Voyage Out (1915) Night and Day (1919) Jacob's Room (1922) Mrs. Dalloway (1925) To the Lighthouse (1927)
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Virginia Adeline Woolf
At 15, burned early writing because her stepmother felt that a reputation for scribbling would harm the girl’s marriage prospects and because she herself was early impressed ‘with ideas that fastened degradation to this class of composition’ then, as now, called the novel.
Illustrations of Taxation, 1834.
Society in America, 1837.
Retrospect of Western Travel.
psychological nature. As readers, we naturally expect a discussion of those obstacles in the following parts of the essay.
I, a woman writer who wants to review a man’s novel.
I have a mind of my own.
I have five hundred pounds a year so that I don’t have to depend solely on charm for my living.
I want to express what I think to be the truth about human relations, morality, sex.
The Angel in the House, a Model woman representing the Victorian ideology of femininity. ‘Be sympathetic; be tender; flatter; deceive; use all the arts and wiles of our sex. Above all, be pure.’
She never has a mind or wish of her own.
These questions cannot be dealt with freely and openly by woman.
Came between me and my paper. Bothered me and wasted my time and tormented me
Shadow of her wings fell on my page; the rustling of her skirts in the room
Slipped behind me and whispered
Would have killed me; would have plucked the heart out of my writing.
Died hard. Her fictitious nature was of great assistance to her. She always crept back.
I turned upon her and caught her by the throat. I did my best to kill her.
I acted in self-defence.
I took up the inkpot and flung it at her.
I dispatched her.
It’s far harder to kill a phantom than a reality.
I flatter myself that I killed her in the end.
1. She excelled in the difficult arts of life.
2.Use all the arts and wiles of our sex.
3.I do not believe that anybody can know until she has expressed herself in all the arts and professions open to human skill.
1.But to show you how little I deserve to be called a professional woman, …I went out and bought a cat – a beautiful cat, a Persian cat.
2.What could be easier than to write articles and to buy Persian cats with the profits?
3.I made one pound ten and six by my first review; and I bought a Persian cat with the proceeds. Then I grew ambitious. A Persian cat is all very well, I said; but a Persian cat is not enough. I must have a motor car.
The fisherman at a deep lake perfectly fits the situation the author is trying to describe. Outwardly, the lake appears deadly calm, and the fisherman sunk in dreams – calm, too. Beneath the surface of the water, there are big fish as well as hard stones, hidden in darkness. The line may go deep into the water to catch the biggest fish or, to crash on a hard rock. Inside the fisherman/writer, there are conflicting thoughts. That is, the freest imagination that, according to traditional thinking, should be held privately and not dealt with in public, as well as the awareness of the consequences of revealing the imagination to the public. Through this metaphor the reader perceives that the truth about body and passion and sex is forced into darkness by traditional values of femininity. And within the woman writer herself, the wish to explore the forbidden topic and the awareness of the double standards men have against women tears her asunder.
To sum up the two experiences, while the first experience is a fight against something outside – the phantom, or the Angel in the house, the second experience is about the inner struggle between the conflicting ideas within the writer herself.