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Woolf Style Analysis

Woolf Style Analysis



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Published by: tennisnerd on Apr 15, 2008
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AP English Language Roettger April, 2008


Saturated with frustration of the masculine control that defined her era, Virginia Woolf explains her true sentiments in Professions for Women. In the speech, Woolf meticulously constructs metaphor through her diction, designed to show the female condition in relation to the male condition in terms of societal differences. Woolf fervently seeks to spread the feasibility of women pursuing careers and seeks to combat the reluctance of men to permit women into the workplace proper. Humble beginnings and intentions form Woolf’s introduction, and her introductory remarks are well chosen. By conceding that "few material obstacles" stood in her way, and that the "family peace was not broken by the scratching of a pen," Woolf characterizes her activities as harmless and amateur. It is noteworthy that Woolf calls her talent "scratching," rather than something more grandiose yet accurate: writing, for example. By mentioning that few material obstacles impeded her path and purse, Woof is able to remove all physical faculties from her work and progress to the mental struggles endured by Women seeking to advance. The rigid cultural mores of the era (and thus lack of feminine individualistic spirit) would have served as a bridge between Woof and her audience and a medium on which her points could pervade. This keeps her concerns tangent to those of her audience, and furthermore to women exposed to the same cultural oppression. This carries her argument to her true objective, and with it comes the "Angel," the goddess of the submissive and selfoppressed. The "Angel" Woolf portrays is "intensely sympathetic… immensely charming… [and] utterly unselfish," and is the apotheosis of a woman of the era. "Every home had one," said Woolf, disgusted with the singular social function of women – to be pure and "mindless." The Angel is a part of all women, Woolf believed, that was instilled by society. Though it may be what women aspire to be for acceptance, it plagues the already socially hindered efforts of women to become professionals rather than homemakers. Woolf explains this phenomenon, describing how the Angel tormented her in her profession, pleading for her not to write a grating critique, but rather a positive, inspiring review. In order for herself – and women in general – to overcome this demonic influence upon feminism, she had to kill the Angel with an act of rebellion against the traditional social mores. Woolf chose her passion – her "scratching" – to do so. Instigated by

Woolf's moans for freedom, the ensuing combat between woman and society is laborious, and is only won by the "ink bottle," the symbol of Woof's passion and liberty. This so-called Angel symbolizes the men's apprehension of women's encroachment on their professional territory. It also shows her roots – a social ploy by men to remain in power by creating a standard that women must abide to. A woman without the shining beauty of society's standards, that is a woman rather than an "Angel," was an awkward concept for Woolf's audience to contemplate. By continuing to write what she believed, Woolf removed the Angel from her as well as the social parameters in which to behave. Woolf is therefore a woman without social limits; this is reflected by her writing patterns. Once using timid and carefully chosen rhetoric, Woolf's writing transforms into one that is looser, more flowing, and on the hole, more liberated – symbolizing the departure of women from lives of restraint to emotion. Her sentences become more eloquent, her vocabulary more pleasing. The reader can feel her emotion flowing from her pen onto the paper in beautiful, flamboyant cursive, spelling imaginative, curious sentences. Her descriptions of a young writer, digging for inspiration, who stumbles where "the big fish slumber" are vivid and paint an image all to their own. "Then there was a smash," Woolf said loudly, startling her audience (in all probability, at least.) This young, pure woman stumbled on an idea, void of assistance, an idea of her own life and experience. There was a "froth" as her hand began to write feverishly, hardly keeping pace with her racing mind, and there was a "froth" as women, inspired by the changing times, took up their quills – their version of artillery. Woof's brief, chaotic sentences jolt the reader, and create a feeling of anticipation. It shows that women can feel and report, and it shows that when women feel and report, there is a social froth, as if society spasms whenever change knocks at the door. Society feels that it must repress this change, to preserve the sanctity and normalcy of society. This presents a new hurdle to Woolf and her cause, the inability to express emotions or stories deemed obscene of inappropriate for sharing. This "consciousness" breaks the back of women’s artistic sprit and hampers their ability to communicate and convey. It is a feeling felt by women of all traits, Woolf explains, but it a feeling that must be overcome. She concedes this is a demon she has not defeated, and it is a demon that promises great difficulty for women everywhere. However, she says, the changing times and standards have won women a room of their own, a room they can furnish to their liking. It is sparse now, but after the journey they have endured, it is beautiful. The further women fight for equality, the more ornate the molding, the more stunning the paintings, and the better

the ink. It is a small victory, but it promises success if the campaign to press forward continues – and it did.

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