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Do you remember when women were limited to being just a wife?

Being a doctor, lawyer or writer was

only in our dreams. Women were stuck against a rock and wall looking for a way to explore all the
opportunities in the world. Women were forced to be submerged under silence, lies and broken
promises. It feels like women had to hold their tongue and stay insulated in stillness, so the truth would
not emerge from within. Due to this recognition of the struggles for women over the years, Novelist,
Virginia Woolf, in her argumentative essay “Professions for Women”, demonstrates the uphill battle that
women had to face to be successful in their careers. Woolf speaks through her own persona in this essay
by relating it back to her own personal life. She adopts an effective essay by incorporating symbolism,
parallelism and allusion to sympathize with her audience to be true with who they are in order to be

Woolf introduces her audience to the Angel in the House to comport as a symbolic representation of the
annihilation of women and the continuous brutality by men. “It was she who bothered me, and wasted
my time and so tormented me that at last I killed her.” (Woolf 377). This conveys that Woolf felt
pressured and mentally spitting out disgust. “Tormented” and “killed” concluded that she was being
tortured and held a hostage against her own free will. The free will she had a right to, the free will that is
being taken from her, the free will that is silenced by forced. Woolf symbolically destroyed the Angel.
“Had I not have killed her she would have killed me.” (Woolf 378). This clearly characterizes Woolf that
she is slowly dying inside, ripped away from her pencil every time she has an idea. She established a
position that enables the readers to see the monster under the halo, under the wings and the “purity” .
(Woolf 377). Ironically Woolf describes her deceiver as “angel " which are usually protective ,protective,
caring and loving but she describes this one as her enemy. “She would have plucked the heart out of my
writing.” (Woolf 378). This exploits the true intentions of the angel’s actions. The angel in the house was
meant to destroy a women's ambition and individualism. The angel whispered ‘Never let anyone guess
that you have a mind of your own.” (Woolf 378). Women are supposed to sit and kill the professionalism
inside them. Let the men think for you, they say. Let go of those silly dreams and get a husband, society
tells women. Woolf expressed her feelings through the Angel in the House with strong imagery to allow
the audience to see and feel the brainwashing and manipulation sinking through her brain as the halo
with horns used her radiance and smile to creep her way back in. Woolf formulated an image throughout
her essay to give her symbol its own meaning.

Additionally, parallelism is used throughout the essay which brings emphasis on what a woman really is.
“I”I do not believe that you know. I do not believe anybody can know until she has expressed herself in
all the arts and professions open to human skill.” (Woolf 378). Woolf did this to draw the reader's
attention on how some people had the idea in their head that they know everything that should be
known in the world. “I do not know” is stated to justify the contrast of that idea. It ensures, and clarifies
the meaning that they are not truly who they are until they discover all the adventures of the universe.
Women were isolated for so long that men think a woman is only a wife, cook, and maid. This is the
image of what true woman is from another perspective. It is known that the female figure has a set role.
Everyone knows what they are supposed to say, what they are supposed to do, despite what people
think they know, Woolf is letting society know that you cannot become everything you were meant to be
until you experience the parts that you have not been introduced to yet. Woolf uses “I do not” three
times in her parallelism which are meant to circulate knowledge from what your beliefs are to why you
believe that. “It is true I am a woman, it is true I am employed.” (Woolf 376). This sentence is there to
intensify the new definition of a women. It takes off all the limitations from women. This firmly
announces that it is possible, it is known to be that a woman can be her own person, she can support
herself, and she can survive without a man. Since, Woolf was not employed in the past before she
became a writer, it makes you think about her credibility. However, she contradicted that by stating that
she is employed now and how it was in the past is staying in the past. The tone of her parallelism was
soft and passionate. This was a statement piece. Most women are suggested to be passive, powerless,
and devoted to only her family. Without being said, Woolf pushed the portrayal of women farther than
what was expected. Woolf used connected diction throughout her parallel structure to grasp the true
representation of a women.

Moreover, Woolf utilizes allusion to capture the optical appearance of a memory she had as a child. “A
girl sitting with a pen in her hand, which formulates and indeed for hours, she never dips in the inkpot.”
(Woolf 379). This image is Woolf's illustration of the result that appears due to, the Angel in the House.
This poor little girl is being taken away from her own thoughts and put into a state where writing is not
an option anymore. This girl is an example of the process of what women have to go through to be able
to clear their mind and write their own thoughts because sometimes that is the only way to do it,
because on paper women are heard. The mouth seems to just stop the meaning of language and begin
to just be words of lies and sugar coated with deception. Woolf described this girl as a “fisherman lying
sunk in dreams on the verge of a deep lake with a rod held out over the water.” (Woolf 379). I feel like
the water is her dreams, the rod is herself and the truth dangling over her, and the only way she can
touch it is through the rod; ,however, she is being suffocated by darkness and shadows that are watching
her everywhere she goes, every time she speaks. This allusion was meant to pull the readers into the
story . So, now they actually see how the girl feels and how she looks at the world. This device made
Woolf's essay more interactive with her audience and allowed them to see how naïve the girl really was.

Finally, Woolf incorporated many devices to improve her essay. Symbolism, parallelism, and allusion
made her claim seem like it was worth reading about. Woolf had something to say and she commanded
to be heard. She spoke for herself, for her family, for all women who felt like they were being silenced.
Today, careers are what everyone wants to achieve, whether you are a men or women, young or old,
success, goals, talents and careers comes in many forms, and now women are finally able to declare their
position right next to a man.