Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Book Review: A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

I've always planned on reading Virginia Woolf just on principle, but put the action of until "someday". Well, "someday" came and went a few weeks ago and I am so glad that I gave the time for this quick read.

A Room of One's Own is actually an essay based on a lecture series that the author gave at Newnham and Girton Colleges for women at Cambridge University in 1928. In this short explanation, Virginia Woolf gives her thoughts on how women have been treated throughout history that has kept them in the societal place they inhabited during her time. Her suggestion is that every woman should have "500 a year and a room of her own", meaning that these two luxuries free her from the oppression placed on women of having to rely on men for her livelihood. Perhaps the most well known example she gives is that of Shakespeare. She has the reader imagine if Shakespeare had had a sister who loved to write and longed to write her beautiful prose for all the world. She then illustrates how that would have been impossible, since women were barely ever even taught to read let alone allowed to express any thought on any subject but family and home care. If someone had actually existed like the Shakespeare's sister example, she would certainly not have lasted long because life would not have been worth it to her. Virginia write all these thoughts using her own life as an example since she inherited 500£ a year from an aunt, which enabled her to live on her own and run her own life - quite a big deal for a woman in 1925.

I really enjoyed this read. Virginia Woolf is an extremely eloquent writer, and I can only imagine how amazing this idea would have been for women during the 1920s. This was a woman openly expressing her right to not have children and live under the control of a man. That she can earn her own living and dictate her own future. It's inspiring to read even in this day and age when we have technical equality between the sexes. It's still an empowering speech that will lead you to examine your own individualism. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

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