There are countless female writers and a number of them have become far ore successful than male writers. However, Virginia Wolfe describes how in the early days before women found the ability to be successful writers, there Were several factors that held them back… Not Only from writing, but any career that a woman was ambitious for. It was hard for women to be anything but what history set them as; housewives, cooks, mothers, etc. Women were always in the bottom and always had to think and care for others before themselves.
It seems outrageous in our current day, but it’s a fact that’s how it was before the Women’s Rights Movement from 1848-1920. In 1931 , Virginia Wolfe explains why writing was a popular hobby for women, as well as the reasoning behind why it was hard for herself and any other woman, to become a well respected writer in her letter delivered to the Organization of Processional Women. Writing is a reputable and harmless occupation. The ease of writing allows anyone to write, if they wished. The only thing you need is a pen, paper, and your intellect.
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With this in mind, it was easy to see why women were fond to writing. Many women in the past didn’t have the freedom to apply for careers that meant they could have a mind of their own, forever writing was different. It was simply jotting down one’s thoughts about a topic. Virginia Wolfe noticed how accessible writing was as well… “When came to write, there were very few material obstacles in my way. The family peace was not broken by the scratching of pen. No demand was made upon the family purse”. Writing has always been a very cheap job.
Women did not have any other restrictions to writing besides themselves. Women who wrote did not affect the household at all, it was something that did not take all of their day and it was not necessary to spend sums of money on. This is why writing was such an interesting hobby for Virginia Wolfe, because not much is needed for writing and not much is taken away from it either. Wolfe also builds ethos, because her subject is to speak upon how writing was for women in the past, and she was indeed a writer.
She speaks upon how tough it was because she experienced it firsthand. This supports her purpose, which is to show how aspiring women writers had struggled in the past to become reputable writers, because she was in the situation that she is speaking of. She knows that writing was accessible for women, but she also knows why rating wasn’t as easy as it was for men in her time. Although it was a cheap pastime for women to write, Virginia Wolfe discovered more and more difficulties that came with her writing.
Not her skill to write, but obstacles that were in her way as she wrote. For example, while Wolfe was writing an article about her review on a novel by a famous man, she found that “If were going to review books should need to do battle with a certain phantom. And the phantom was a woman who used to come between me and my paper when was writing reviews. It she who bothered me and wasted my time and so tormented me that at last I killed her’. Wolfe describes a “phantom” that haunted her as she became progressed with her writing, which constantly tried to hurt her writing.
To go in depth, the phantom “was intensely sympathetic. She was utterly unselfish. She excelled in the difficult arts of family life. She sacrificed herself daily-?in short she was so constituted that she never had a mind or a wish of her own. She said ‘never let anybody guess that you have a mind of your own”. Wolfe creates the persona of this phantom to describe how much of an effect woman in the past had on her. The phantom was an 18th century’ woman, a woman that had no rights and o confidence, and a woman that never advanced with men in generations.
Wolfe creates this persona to show how hard it was for her to forget her gender’s past to become equal to a man, in a literature sense. She was becoming as good a writer as a man, and thoughts of her predecessors, which were women, emerged to try and tame Wolfe. However, Wolfe “killed” the phantom in the sense that she continued to become a writer, and continued to surpass men in literature. Virginia Wolf’s letter was a response to the concerns that women have with employment, and Wolfe used herself as an example.
She explains why she excelled in the writing profession, as well as the difficulties that came with it. Wolfe also used several rhetorical strategies that defined the experience of a woman writer in the past. She uses herself as an example to show that even back then, she fought and became a reputable writer, and so in this current day in age, there is no reason why women should be struggling in employment. If Wolfe could have became employed despite all her obstacles, than women now should be able to as well. They need to defeat the now weakened phantom and aspire to become independent and revolutionary.
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