Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf was a very powerful and imaginative writer. In a "Room of Ones Own" she takes her motivational views about women and fiction and weaves them into a story. Her story is set in a imaginary place where here audience can feel comfortable and open their minds to what she is saying. In this imaginary setting with imaginary people Woolf can live out and see the problems women faced in writing. Woolf also goes farther by breaking many of the rules of writing in her essay. She may do this to show that the standards can be broken, and to encourage more women to write. An example of this is in the very first line when Woolf writes, "But, you may say, we asked you to speak about women and fiction?what has that got to do with a room of one?s own(719)?" Why did Woolf start her story of like that? Maybe it was to show how different women really were from men. By starting out with this completely unconventional opening sentence she was already showing that the rules could be broken.
Woolf starts her essay by explaining to her audience what she could have talked about and what other things her topic might mean, she is letting the audience be drawn in to her consciousness. Woolf wants them to know why she decided to use this topic instead of some less meaningful one, that may have made for a good speech but would not have really covered the full scope of the problem. Woolf said:
They just might mean simply a few remarks about Fanny Burney; a few more about Jane Austen; a tribute to the Brontes and a sketch of Haworth Parsonage under snow; some witticisms if possible about Miss Mitford; a respectful allusion to George Eliot; a reference to Mrs. Gaskell and one would have done. But at second sight the words seemed not so simple (719).
Woolf wanted her essay to be different and break away from the conventions created by men. She even tells her audience that she is going to break away from conventions in this part of her essay, "It is part of the novelist?s conventions not to mention soup and salmon and ducklings, as if soup and salmon and ducklings were of no importance whatsoever, as if nobody ever smoked a cigar or drank a glass of wine. Here, however, I shall take the liberty of defying that convention(724)?"
Woolf also explains the duties of a speaker stating, "One can only give one?s audience the chance of drawing their own conclusions as they observe the limitations, the prejudices, the idiosyncrasies of the speaker (720)." By saying this, she is telling her audience that she is not going to just come out and say what she thinks, she is going to let them make their own decisions. Woolf starts her story off on a river bank on a beautiful day, although she is probably in a room somewhere typing it. I think Woolf does this because most everyone can relate to this as being a good place to sit down and think. When Woolf says, "Call me Mary Beton, Mary Seton, Mary Carmichael, or by any other name you please (720)," she was trying to make the story relate any woman in the audience no matter who they were. Woolf has created a world where people can be comfortable and open minded about her sensitive subject. She could not get on stage and rage about how woman have been held back by men. Woolf would have scared all her listeners away with her radical view. By creating a place where her audience can have the problems she is talking about Woolf lets the audience formulate their own opinions.
Now that Woolf has got her audience in a comfortable state of mind she can begin to talk about the real problems of woman writers. Woolf believes the real problem is the lack of money women have. First she addresses the fact that women must raise the children and tells us to consider the facts, "First there is nine months before the baby is born. Then the baby is born. Then there are three of four months spent in feeding the baby. After the baby is fed there are certainly five years spent in playing with the baby(730-731)."