Analysis of Strindberg's Miss Julie

Analysis of Miss Julie
“Miss Julie” is a drama written in 1888 by August Strindberg as a response from an unbecoming critical analysis by Emile Zola for a prior drama (Sprinchorn, 119). Strindberg subtitled “Miss Julie” as “A Naturalistic Tragedy” which did not sit well with many critics and authors of the time. The reason for using the naturalistic elements in the drama were to ensure that his drama would get the recognition he believed it deserved, but what is discover ed is that “Miss Julie” is not as naturalistic as Strindberg argued. What is naturalistic structure in a drama, and how does it fit or not fit into the plot of “Miss Julie?” T he first step is to decide of a definition for naturalism. Then it is necessary to compare the drama with the definition to see of the critical theory of naturalism is an effect way to analyze “Miss Julie.” Naturalism has many definitions, as each playwright that used its techniques molded it to conform to their dramas. Zola was considered the definitive authority on the theory of naturalism (Sprinchorn, 119). However, it will be more productive to consolidate several ideals of this theory to ensure that the broadest definition is used for analysis. First of all, the concept of naturalism believes that each individual is created by their heredity and environment (Esslin, 69; Greenwald, Schultz, & Pomo, 841: Sprinchorn, 122 & 124; Templeton, 470). The second part of the definition is the use of actuality within the drama by the actors, with sets and props, and the truth in the plot (Esslin, 69; Greenwald, Schultz, & Pomo, 841: Sprinchorn, 122). From these two parts of the definition, the naturalistic analysis of “Miss Julie” in regard to plot development will be discussed. The development of the plot in “Miss Julie” does not seem to have as much to do with heredity as environment. For example, Miss Julie is an aristocrat that is thumbing her nose at the social norms of her time (Templeton, 470). This is very obviously part of her environment that she is dismissing as unimportant, or worth the risk. The first action that creates this snub is when Miss Julie enters the kitchen, which is also considered the servant’s quarters (Sprinchorn, 124). The mistress of the house should not be associating with the servants and yet not only does she associate with the servants in the kitchen, but also by celebrating mid-summers eve with the other servants at their dance. One sentence exhibits her wantonly ways for the evening, “On a night like this we’re all just ordinary people having fun, so we’ll forget about rank” (Strindberg, 929). This next example of her environment influencing her is after her tryst with Jean, Miss Julie realizes that she has fallen from her aristocratic upbringing, which she emphas izes “Oh, God in heaven, end my wretched life! Take me away from the filth I’m sinking into! Save me! Save me!” (Strindberg, 934). Miss Julie knows that by intercourse with a servant will bring her family and herself shame and she will be no better than the servants in her house. The final act of the environment is when takes the razor from Jean “Thank you. I’m going now to rest!” (Strindberg, 941). She knows that there is no surviving in the environment in which she has created, and therefore will kill herself rather than face the shame of her actions. Within this context it is obvious that the heredity of Miss Julie is not in play in regards to the plot development, however the changing environment caused by her decisions is a focal point in the development of the plot. With each new decision, entering the kitchen, entering Jean bedroom, fear of facing shame, each has led to the plot moving forward, for each decision would have made a difference in the plot had the decisions been different. This proves the point that “…naturalism shows life as it is – only worse” (Greenwald, Schultz, & Pomo, 841). The second part of the definition is the use of the actors, the props, and set in which to emphasis the natural and true possibilities of the drama. It realize on costumes, lighting scenery and the tools used by the actors in their portrayal of the true to life characters (Greenwald, Schultz, & Pomo, 840). For Strindberg each piece of set and prop were also symbolic of the environment of the characters. The kitchen is symbolic of the lower status of the servants and by Miss Julie entering this area; she is symbolically lowering herself, just as her mother did before her death (Strindberg, 928). Another object that is used symbolically is the high riding boots that Jean carries into the kitchen. These boots symbolized the authority of the Count and his presence even when he is away (Strindberg, 928). The wine that Jean drinks symbolizes his superiority to other servants, and to Miss Julie herself (Strindberg, 934; Templeton 469). The canary is a foreshadowing of what is to come of Miss Julie (Strindberg, 939).

Evert. Pomo eds. Templeton. Pomo. 121.4 http://chanindesiree. “Miss Julie” as “A Naturalistic Tragedy. and Roberto D. Without the symbolis m. “Naturalism in Context. The fact is that realism is a structure that portrays real life events. Alice. it will make a good impression in the same sense as does the sight of the death of an incurable. Templeton. They just took the concepts and ideals of naturalism a step further. Symbolism and expressionism both came from the foundation of naturalism. Martin. Because of these moves away from naturalism. 2001.hubpages. but on the people portrayed. The other factor used in this play was the symbolism of many of the props. as were the first French revolutionaries. then the drama is no longer naturalistic in its structure. Greenwald. 2001. It does not rely on the struggles or taboos associated with hereditary and environment. Roger Schultz. “Naturalism. “Miss Julie” would have been a very uninteresting and possibly stagnant drama. pp. Eds. superannuated trees which have too long stood in the way of others with equal right to vegetate their full lifetime. Badger. 927-941. New York:Pearson Longman. IN his masterly preface to this play.” The Longman Anthology of Drama and Theater: A Global Perspective. and Roberto D. August. Sprinchorn. Sprinchorn. Roger Schultz. it will make an exclusively pleasant and cheerful impression to see the royal parks cleared of rotting. Emma Goldman. 840. With the symbolism and the realistic portrayals of the characters “Miss Julie” came to life and thereby naturalism does not help the development of the plot. JSTOR 5 July 2009 Strindberg. 1914. 5 July 2009 Greenwald..2 (Winter 1968): 67-76. the use of only needed props and sets is one of the biggest parts of naturalism. Michael L. but in a theatrical way. many critics believe that the drama is more on the realistic and symbolic or expressionist theories (Esslin 13-08-13 MISS JULIE an analysis of the play by August Strindberg The following essay was originally published in The Social Significance of the Modern Drama. however.” Theater Journal 42. 51-61. “Miss Julie. 469).” The Drama Review:TDR 13. August Strindberg writes: "The fact that my tragedy makes a sad impression on many is the fault of the many. To answer the question of whether the naturalistic theory fits into the plot development of “Miss Julie” would be that it does not help with plot development.” The Drama Review: TDR 13. Strindberg did not use anything that was not required for the development of the plot and to show the transference of superiority from Miss Julie to Jean by the end of the drama. Michael L. When we become strong.Many believe that due to the use of symbolic affects. JSTOR." . New York:Pearson Longman. “Strindberg and the Greater Naturalism. Works Cited Esslin.” The Longman Anthology of Drama and Theater: A Global Perspective.2 (Winter 1968): 119-129. Boston: Richard G.

were we to realize that those who will clear society of the rotting. not even a tree. the servant. the restless spirit roaming the earth. the lackey. sordid reality of the class of his mother. He who had been begotten through the physical mastery of his father and the physical subserviency of his mother." he says to Julie. because August Strindberg strips both of their glitter. superannuated trees that have so long been standing in the way of others entitled to an equal share in life. But once having tasted the simple abandon of the people. in love with my coachman? I. ever in the death-throes of the Old. Strindberg is no trimmer. Was he not forever the seeker. out on a barren stretch where nothing grew. that we may see that "at bottom there's not so much difference between people and -. by wealth and power. is it not. he has his dreams. intense passion of her mother and the neurotic aristocratic tendencies of her father." Miss Julie feels. for they soar up above. nothing but arrogance. aroused. Even though Jean is a servant. and when all are in a holiday spirit. makes advances.people. no cheap reformer. Therefore also. to give birth to the New? How. then. but as persons of her station may do when carried away by the moment. Therein the vicious brutality. a one-act tragedy. Verily. their interest in the "common people" is. a language whose significance is illuminating. the "intense summer heat when the blood turns to fire. the boundless injustice of rank. follows him into the kitchen. full of gladness. and then feigns indignation when Jean." Who in modern dramatic art is there to teach us that lesson with the insight of an August Strindberg? He who had been tossed about all his life between the decadent traditions of his aristocratic father and the grim. must be as strong as the great revolutionists of the past! Indeed. nor yet openly and freely. "I was not hired to be your plaything. that those who serve and drudge for others. blind conceit of their own importance and ignorance of the character of the people. Strindberg knew whereof he spoke -. his deep grasp of the subtlest phases of life." Strange. could he be other than relentless and grim and brutally frank? Miss Julie. John's Eve with dance. How dare he. is not flung aside with impunity. The people on the estate of Julie's father are celebrating St. That was the . he has his pride. and rank is flung aside. I lived in a hovel provided by the State.. their charity. and Julie graciously mingles with the servants.not because of love for the man. is no doubt a brutally frank portrayal of the most intimate thoughts of man and of the age-long antagonism between classes. that the barrier of rank reared through the ages. Brutally frank. should think so much of themselves as to refuse to be played with? Stranger still that they should indulge in dreams. They look like hawks and eagles whose backs one seldom sees. their sham and pretense.. I. her suppressed passions leap into full flame. plays with him as with a pet dog. Added to this heritage is the call of the wild. and Julie throws herself into the arms of her father's valet. The Count is absent. with seven brothers and sisters and a pig." How well Strindberg knows the psychology of the upper classes! How well he understands that their graciousness. his great versatility. The woman in Julie pursues the male. when too late. Jean says: Do you know how people in high life look from the under-world?. once having thrown off the artifice and superficiality of her aristocratic decorum. even insinuate that she would have him! "I. Jean -. compelling. or to content himself with accepted truths. therefore his inability to remain fixed.What a wealth of revolutionary thought -. who step down. "I think too much of myself for that. the lady of the house! I honor the people with my presence.for he spoke with his soul. after all. song and revelry. Miss Julie inherited the primitive. but from the window I could see the Count's park walls with apple trees rising above them. no patchworker.

There is the Count. The awe of authority. the betrothed of Jean. For Jean has the potentiality of the master in him as much as that of the slave. Let them come and say it! Such dignity and morality are indeed pathetic. and there stood many angry angels with flaming swords protecting it. Jean shows brutality only at the critical moment. or safety for both. You were unattainable. when it becomes a question of life and death. nor in years. your father... he cannot rise above his condition.. the people who do not know what they want. the dull.these are the curse of the Jean class that makes such cringing slaves of them. I don't want to stay in this house any longer! And to think of it being with such as you! If it has been the Lieutenant -. The Kristins represent the greatest obstacle to social growth.. the deadlock in the conflict between the classes. made helpless and useless by affluence. a fatal imperative excluding one from the table of life. the other enslaved and bound by service and dependence. No. On the other hand.. the Jeans... Thus when Kristin.. though in the conflict with Julie. And when later Jean suggests his room for a . often become brutalized in the hard school of life. dumb animal who has so little left of the spirit of independence that she has lost even the ambition to rise above her condition. I can't account for it but -. I would do it on the spot. if they can. The one unnerved. but it's a comfort that they're not a bit better than we.I don't know.I believe if the Count came here now. and not to give the servants a chance for gossip. he replies: I can't as long as we are in this house. Superstition and prejudice taught in childhood can't be uprooted in a moment. you are so smart. she is indignant that her lady should have so much forgotten her station as to stoop to her father's valet.. to start like a nervous horse. it is much more terrible in its effect upon Kristin. you can say that. Cringing before those who are above them. JEAN: Yes. I need only to see his gloves lying in a chair to feel my own insignificance. and for the Jeans.. Let any one of paradise. away from joy and play and beauty! The injustice and the bitterness of it all. discovers that her mistress Julie had given herself to him. But I don't want to serve people who behave so.... with the result of producing such terrible effects on the Julies and the Jeans. I feel like bowing and scraping. a moment that means discovery and consequent ruin... that places the stigma of birth as an impassable obstacle. but through the vision of you I was made to realize how hopeless it was to rise above the conditions of my birth. KRISTIN: I don't want to be here in this house any longer where one cannot respect one's betters. yet feel the cruelty of a world that keeps the pauper's child out of the castle of his dreams.. it is that damned servant in my back -. servility before station and wealth -. I thought if it is true that the thief on the cross could enter heaven and dwell among the angels it was strange that a pauper child on God's earth could not go into the castle park and play with the Countess' daughter. I have only to hear his bell. What I wanted -. begs her to return to her room. and told me to cut my throat. No. that the Count's cook has had anything to do with the riding master or the swineherd.. KRISTIN: No. superstition and prejudice cannot be uprooted in a moment. though the male is aroused in him. I don't think so. with all their longing for higher possibilities...but ah. ease and idleness. tyrannical and over-bearing toward those who are below them.. It reflects on oneself. for if they are not better there's no use in our trying to better ourselves in this world. And now that I see his boots standing there so stiff and proper. to love you despise me. because they indicate how completely serfdom may annihilate even the longing for something higher and better in the breast of a human being. the cook. I think. I have never lowered my position. but for all that I and other boys found the way to the tree of life -. pleads with Julie not to play with fire. What rich food for thought in the above for all of us. And to think of the Count! Think of him who has had so much sorrow all his days. Jean. Even when Jean wants to.. When Julie asks him to embrace her. JEAN: Why should one respect them? KRISTIN: Yes. Yet degrading as "the damned servant" reacts upon Jean....

laying bare the human soul behind the mask of social tradition and class culture. Finally when the inevitable happens. http://www. for maturity and depth. himself the result of the class conflict between his parents. I see that you are unhappy. so much did her mother dread the thought of a child that she "was always ill. and they return to the kitchen. yet with master touch he painted the degrading effects of class distinction and its tragic antagonisms. of a useless. not gold.when work gives us time. We love as we play -. We haven't the whole day and night for it as that dazzles us from below. of too much toil to permit the growth of the finer traits in the human soul. that even servants have their passions and feelings that cannot long be trifled with. In other words. when as the result of their closeness in Jean's room. in which only those survive who have the determination to act in time of danger. and gave to the world a work powerful in its grasp of elemental emotions." Here we have the key to the psychology of the utter helplessness and weakness of the Julie type. I know that you are suffering. "I don't care to shirk my share of the blame. autumn blossom blown into fragments by lack of stability. "I'm sorry to have to realize that all that I have looked up to is not worth while. For the child born against the will of its parents must also be without will. had been brought into the world against her mother's wishes." Added to this horror was the conflict. Indeed. their intense passion. she often had cramps and acted queerly.html 14-08-13 . it is to save her from their songs full of insinuation and ribaldry. Julie -. "Miss Julie. the avalanche of sex sweeps them off their feet. but I cannot understand you. as it pains me to see autumn blossoms whipped to pieces by the cold rain and transformed into -. the result of an empty life. never felt at home with either of them. with impunity." For Jean says. of their overwrought nerves. the relentless war of traditions between Julie's aristocratic father and her mother descended from the people. it is again Jean who is willing to bear his share of the responsibility. lack of love and lack of harmony. In Miss Julie this idea recurs with even more tragic effect. The one. too. the effect of too little time for development. birth and conventions. This was the heritage of the innocent victim. namely. Jean is hardened by his. The other. August Strindberg. All his life he was galled by the irreconcilability of the classes." he tells Julie. Among my kind there is no nonsense of this sort. often hiding in the orchard or the attic. and that the eagle's back is gray like the rest of him. The Jeans know "that it is the glitter of brass. For as Jean says. as it is because the character of Jean was molded in the relentless school of necessity. forgetful of station. and it pains me to see you fallen lower than your cook. of parasitic leisure. In Miss Julie he popularized one of the most vital problems of our age. it is not so much out of real cruelty. purposeless existence. and the brutality of the Jeans. and too weak to bear the stress and storm of life.theatredatabase. "but do you think any one of my position would have dared to raise his eyes to you if you had not invited it?" There is more truth in this statement than the Julies can grasp. while Julie is broken and weakened by her inheritance and environment.dirt!" It is this force that helps to transform the blossom into dirt that August Strindberg emphasizes in The Father. When Jean kills the bird which Julie wants to rescue from the ruins of her life.hiding place that Julie may escape the approaching merry-makers. and though he was no sermonizer in the sense of offering a definite panacea for individual or social ills.

In the introduction to her translation of Miss Julie. The daughter of a feminist. which had. Strindberg pulls his women down from pedestals and subjects his female characters to the same ruthless and skeptical observation. she is in full control of her temper. any one of her novels may be read in part as an "elaborate study of the psychology of women by a woman" (Room 78). Conflicted and contradictory. a naturalist.3 Though not necessarily scholarly. and the sentiments they express share more. Yet their viewpoints intersect at odd places.2 Strindberg. Strindberg was not a figure from the distant past.. his was the generation of naysayers whom it was Woolf's duty to disprove. from the earliest ages. Juvenal's scathing Satire on women and Strindberg's diatribes on the inferiority of women are far crueler than most of the comments by Johnson and others which infuriated her earlier on. by the criticism of Strindberg. like Juvenal. but he was not quite her contemporary. was obsessed with capturing the complexity of "the human psyche" (Miss Julie xv) . a fictional woman writer of the new era in A Room of One's Own. Strindberg's "qualification" (being a woman herself [see Room 27]). however. through his obsessive revenge against women that Strindberg created the most wonderful parts for women. she offers a couple of models from which to work: Think how much women have profited by the comments of Juvenal. to laugh at the "peculiarities" of the opposite sex. Helen Cooper writes: It is. finding levity in this "spot" at the back of two men's heads (for if misogyny is not a dark place in the male that respect.Strange Bedfellows: Woolf's Feminism and Strindberg's Misogyny by Faye Kasemset When Virginia Woolf calls on Mary Carmichael. what is?). Her evocation of August Strindberg is particularly intriguing.that women writers are urgently needed to offer an alternative critique of men . she struggles to live up to the equality ideals of her .1 but on fiction as well. Woolf's narrator (that nebulous "I") is frequently enraged.with humor. either. his most famous play. have pointed out to women that dark place at the back of the head! (Room 90) The jest is at once comic and instructive. ironically enough. Woolf offsets the seriousness of her claim . she definitely does not seem "wanting in personality and character" (Room 43). Yet here she is. of course. fuming outside the closed door of the Oxbridge library. choosing two obviously over-the-top examples from the other sex. His work is a perfect example of the tradition of literature whose perspective she labels incomplete in A Room of One's Own. and envisioning a horrific tale of abuse by men for Shakespeare's sister. she and he championed antithetical philosophies not only on women. than either would care to admit. scribbling angrily over the face of "Professor X".. lacking. long been accepted in the creation of male characters. already-venerated literary set. his work can be seen as a precursor to Woolf's own writing. Miss Julie. He was of an older. As such. Think with what humanity and brilliancy men. (Miss Julie x) Cooper justly celebrates the character of Miss Julie for her complexity. no doubt. She is also demonstrating the appropriate method for such critiques. however. By this penultimate chapter. what can Woolf profess to offer that is missing from Strindberg's portrait of women? Is Strindberg's well-publicized hatred of women sufficient to discredit his account of them?4That Woolf assumes her readers' familiarity with his work suggests otherwise. was published 40 years before A Room of One's Own.. In earlier chapters.

not after disarmament. (Miss Julie xvi) The sentiments he expresses in this preface to his play may seem absurd. in their attempts to illustrate opposing he is?). like Judith. he was denouncing her as a "servant's slut" and "footman's whore. a woman must be perfect . In the case of Miss Julie. in A Room of One's Own. By limiting his portrayal of Miss Julie to the context of her romantic entanglement with Jean. Strindberg supports Woolf's claim that "man is terribly hampered in his knowledge of women. Right after Jean's "passion awakens again..suppressors of genius. she would have become a Shakespeare. Miss Julie may not be a literary genius of Shakespearean proportions. Julie. it would seem. Woolf and Strindberg offer eerily similar paradigms: both Shakespeare's sister. even humorous. will always be stunted and can never catch up with the one that is ahead. but we might see in her the same struggle against conventionthat destroyed Shakespeare's fictional sister.namely that woman .. it is more likely her desire to cross the boundaries of social class than of gender roles.. had to be taken in desperate earnest once" (Room 55). in the current social climate. though Strindberg claims ambition causes her death. Her death could have been prevented." he calls Miss Julie "a glorious woman. For Strindberg. Had Julie been a nobleman's son. governed by the laws of genetics. far too good for the likes of [him]". the tragedy of Miss Julie is caused by ambitions beyond her abilities: She is the victim of a false belief.. a Classical playwright and putative 'misogynist' to whom Woolf dedicates a footnote (Room 43) . If any attempt to rectify an inequality is responsible for her demise.. When. her alternations between heavenly goodness and hellish depravity" (Room 83).mother while battling lust and human fallibility (to be equal to man. but by a switch in the demands upon her gender. But perhaps we can accept Strindberg's characterization of Miss Julie as plausible (in the body of the play itself) without endorsing his psychological account of equal to man or might become so. Not by means of equal education. Strindberg resembles Euripides. given the amicable relationships Shakespeare portrays between Cleopatra and her female attendants. only moments earlier. Strindberg's Miss Julie is seen exclusively in her relationship to her footman Jean. the lord of creation.this stunted form of human being compared to man." likening her to an animal (Miss Julie 25-6). though. not even if men stopped drinking.. a lover's eyes present "the astonishing extremes of her beauty and horror... Woolf bemoans the lack of female friendship in literature (such a topic being beyond the scope of a woman's relationship with a man). there is no love lost between his Julie and Christine.of the characters in Miss Julie (in which he intends to demonstrate the inequality of the sexes). she cites the jealous dynamic between Cleopatra and Olivia in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra (Room 82)." and that women in fiction by men are "seen only in relation to the other sex". we might surmise. not by a switch of gender (as Strindberg suggests). In the importance he places on female characters. she need not have killed herself to avoid the disgrace of sleeping with the kitchen maid. "what is amusing now. he never shows us Miss Julie attempting any traditionally male occupations. the creator of civilization . not through equal voting rights.. . and Miss Julie commit suicide in the aftermath of a socially forbidden liaison. We can deduce from Woolf's frustration that the sentiments Strindberg expresses here had not been quite eradicated in her time. commits suicide out of fear of the consequences of her sexual licentiousness . Absurd because a stunted form. These parallel fables carry the distinct imprints of their respective authors in their plotlines. Ironically.repercussions unique to the female position in her society. the usage is slightly unfair. the accusation would be just. Embracing this absurd ambition leads to her downfall.. Woolf focuses on the career. passion. Had Judith been a William. As Woolf said of Lady Bessborough. and ambition of her heroine. men in her tale are presented as obstacles . Woolf's invention in A Room of One's Own . two out of three are women.

. But what Strindberg believes is inherent weakness. But while Woolf downplays the creative function of anger in art (leaving unacknowledged the powerful role it plays in drawing the reader into her own essay). Think of an injustice. The differences in Woolf's and Strindberg's attitudes are stereotypically gendered: she preaches moderation (self-renunciation).. in which "there must be freedom and there must be peace" (Room 104).. he "protest[s] against the equality of the other sex by asserting his own superiority.5 he advised her. so afraid of the lash that was once almost laid on my own shoulders" (Room 90). it was Strindberg. for the poetry in her" (Room 77).. Strindberg embraces it. Woolf and Strindberg may be alike in reaction. in which the male and female halves of her brain are so in harmony as to be unintrusive (Room 98-102). when Jean describes his mistress "training" her fiancé: "She made him jump over her riding whip like a dog. Woolf declares that a woman must create her own sentence. Woolf. . a male writer. blames anger for obscuring art. either. "some new vehicle.. Woolf still champions the concept of an "androgynous" mind. Rather than relinquish the right to write (acknowledging herself unworthy. "stumbled and fell" endeavoring to write with "a sentence that was unsuited for a woman's use" (Room 76). it is a warning. with employing to admirable effect). why doesn't Miss Julie seem "somehow dull" (Room 101)? Perhaps the answer lies in the writer's own passion . A.she is a demonstration of female inferiority to man. Twice he jumped and twice she lashed him but the third time he grabbed the whip out of her hand and broke it" (Miss Julie 4). Woolf views as an alternative (and irreplaceable) "creative force. as Strindberg would have her do).. Like Woolf. he advocates a focused rage (valor).for she disowns her less harmonious thoughts with the same vehemence with which he cultivates his. won by centuries of the most drastic discipline" (Room 87). according to her. would probably disagree. sexes. She envisions a woman writer who will write a poetic tragedy through prose. Woolf's self-characterization in A Room of One's Own echoes this image: "so cowardly am I. The masculine "I" is omnipresent in Strindberg's work. she alleges. the imaginary novelist whose tales of passion and exploit fail to titillate in A Room of One's Own. a woman. When Strindberg was encouraging his first wife to become a writer (before he had truly begun to hate women). for preventing Charlotte Brontë from realizing genius beyond Jane Austen's. but they are opposites in response . She complains about the male writer whose "virility has now become self-conscious". because in too actively seeking the masculine his anger. his Miss Julie is not just an example of feminine weakness . it is responsible. Woolf sees danger for a woman who attempts to model herself directly after men: Brontë. in contrast. It is probably this very comparison. both affirm the existence of real differences in the natures of men and women. not fewer. Her allusion to him in A Room of One's Own is more than a joke. create adversaries." so why doesMiss Julie continue to fascinate? Unlike Mr. In her vision of art. though the rarity of the occurrence precludes severe castigation) cannot succeed. for anger is the strongest of all spiritual emotions..learn to laugh from a distance. "If you get angry your style acquires colour. bring forth invisible enemies. Strindberg is angry at the situation of his sex.. that Woolf seeks to avoid when she calls for the artist to possess an androgynous mind. Behind both her and Strindberg's anger lurks a fear of oppression by the opposite sex. Although she purports to desire more. But for all her reservations about anger. against the equality of the other sex. pure masculinity does not suit men.. Woolf's character in A Room of One's Own is often furious.dead"? Is he completely "impeded and inhibited" in artistic ability (Room 101)? Cooper. Woolf wants Mary Carmichael to do what Strindberg cannot . a woman too manly (or a man too womanly. creating a new genre (and laying claim to the streams of consciousness style which some might credit James Joyce. According to Woolf. be 'mad'" (Miss Julie viii). between her feminism and his misogyny.. Does his sentence then fall "plump to the ground ." If there was ever a male writer conscious of his gender.. Strindberg's chronicle of female deficiency is written "in protest.Just as Woolf and Strindberg predict the same tragic fate for a woman struggling against her position of subordination and oppression (though they differ on its cause). We can see this fear at the beginning of Miss Julie. she will never attain a state of balance. get angry. Like Strindberg.

impossible with her social standing at the time. according to the cook.Works Cited 1. her contemporary. intellectual. "De l'inferiorité de la femme [et comme corollaire de la justification de sa situation subordonnée selon des données dernières de la science]. August Strindberg. Strindberg's play stands out for its frank discussion of "forbidden" women's topics. Siri von Essen (his first wife) was married to another man. (Miss Julie) 3. however. on male superiority. 11-12]). (Lagercrantz) 5. 4. Lagercrantz. At the time. Woolf. 1895. On the other hand. citing. She could and did. Genève: Slatkine Reprints. at the very least). If. 1968. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse. you read her novels as psychologically mimetic (the case can be made for Mrs. in her arguments. Congenial Spirits: The Selected Letters of Virginia Woolf. Sappho and a number of other illustrious women who then reappear in A Room of One's Own. Although we might be tempted to imagine Woolf disagreeing (if women should . Woolf. vigorously refute similar claims by Arnold Bennett. 3.). Strindberg. pp. Miss Julie. there would be time enough for the live audience of A Room of One's Own to disprove them. she addressed these letters to a favorable reviewer of Bennett's Our Women. She herself wrote tastefully. (Letters) 4. A Room of One's Own. is "always a bit strange. and Giroux. London: Methuen Drama. (Room) 2. San Diego: Harcourt. Woolf was only thirteen when Strindberg published "De l'inferiorité de la femme [On the inferiority of woman]" in La Revue Blanche (in which he claims to provide justification for woman's subordinate position through science. 5. and was critical of writers who were less delicate in tone (such as James Joyce). she would have been unable to argue with him at the time (at least publicly). "You say you lack education! God preserve us from writers who retail what they have read in books" (Miss Julie viii).so we are told" (Room 16). 1992. declaring. (Revue) Footnotes 1. 1-20). she had dreams of becoming an actress. his characters openly discuss female lust and menstruation (Miss Julie. Strindberg also demands realistic situations ( Miss Julie is based on a true story). 1975. and the truer the facts the better the fiction . 1929.). 2. has been accused by some critics of being overly fastidious about bodily functions (not just the feminine variety). He also dismissed reservations about her qualifications. 1984. while Woolf mocks such rigid realism: "Fiction must stick to facts. August and Helen Cooper (trans. New York: Farrar. Virginia and Joanne Trautmann Banks (ed. Strindberg suggested writing as an alternative outlet for artistic expression (Lagercrantz 56). Virginia. through letters to the New Statesman in 1920 (Letters 122-127). Woolf." In La Revue Blanche (Tome VIII. If Arnold Bennett's works were still read in 40 years. London: The Hogarth Press. as became a well-bred woman of her time. and moral inferiority to man [Revue 1. Olof and Anselm Hollo (trans. of course. Strindberg. August. conversely. when she's got her period" [Miss Julie 8]).). Straus. laying out the reasons for her physical.

html (14-08-13) .be given money and a room of their own. she herself was not formally educated. surely they need education as well?). and A Room of One's Own does not explicitly claim education (of the Oxbridge variety) as a prerequisite for art.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.