Professions Of Women By Virginia Woolf Essay

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On Virginia Woolf's "Profession For Women"

I've read some numbers of feminism related essays and articles in my years as a student in the English department. A lot of times I felt like a minority in most scenarios since most of my classmates are female. I understand of course that it is not that simple issue of good and bad. But every time during discussions on the matter, I always feel a bit sorry for being "the evil men." These discussions are endlessly repetitive with most students condemning and criticizing men for being the biased and women being the sympathized. It wasn't long before I develop a sense of dread towards feminism. It's not because I disagree with the points or observations raised in these writings. They had interested and persuaded me in all ways possible. But my experience seems to be repeating themselves over and over as different feminists continues to attack and complain without giving any substantial resolutions.

Virginia Woolf is different. I didn't have much expectation before reading this article. Maybe in a way, I was blinded by my own phantom. Yet I find this reading experience much more intriguing. This is a writer that isn't afraid to admit her lacking of answers and limits of knowledge. She asks good questions instead of perpetual complaints. The essay is really a chance to understand her streams of thought on the matter. The logic of this essay is fairly straightforward and easy to follow. It isn't blinded by pure sentimentality that often is quite biased itself.

I find this essay significantly inspiring even by today's standards. It's timeless in its main idea, that of "the phantom." Maybe to women at that time, the phantom speaks to women only as "the Angel in the House." But I think to define it only as that is limiting its ideological potential. The phantom can be anything. Everyone, regardless of race, class, sex is haunted by their own phantoms. It represents an obstacle of the mind. It's something we as individuals have to learn to break in order to improve ourselves or refresh ourselves. When we do, it's enlightenment, it's liberation.

The phantom also symbolizes a stereotypical image projected by "the man"/ society which set limits on how we think and act. Woolf's phantom is an invisible standards not only in writings but living as a whole. She writes in the end that "Indeed it will be a long time, I think, before a woman can sit down to write a book without finding a phantom to be slain, a rock to be dashed against."For me, it's an ongoing dilemma between what's right and what's easy. As a university student, my...

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Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) was an outstanding English feminist writer, literary critic and publisher. Her literary works inspired many writers of interwar and postwar periods. Her style of writing is focused on exploration of the concepts of time and memory, and human inner feelings and consciousness.
In “Professions for Women” published in 1931, Virginia Woolf tells the truth about her own experiences as a woman and as a writer. She refers to the depiction of femininity and her own literary practice, during which she kills a phantom, known as “the Angel in the House”. The author discusses the nature of the profession of a women-writer, analyzing the major obstacles that she has to overcome to achieve success. Considering that in Victorian period, women faced inequality, Virginia Woolf describes women’s occupations with irony. Actually, the author had a motive to kill “The Angel in the House” because of her anger toward the description of femininity of the 19-th century. She wants to come out of the prejudices of the Victorian society, in which women had to sooth men. The writer had to battle with that phantom before she could start reviewing books. Virginia Woolf writes: “Killing the Angel in the House was part of the occupation of a woman writer” (27). This statement means women have to fight for social and economic equality. She wants women of all professions to consolidate and fight inequality and prejudices.
I was greatly impressed by Virginia Woolf’s philosophy of life discussed in her essay “Professions for Women”. I think that this piece can help students think and write, especially those girls who face some obstacles in writing. Virginia Wolf’s philosophy can help them to discuss the existing problems and share the knowledge they have gained. This piece might be included in a freshman reader for composition and rhetoric.

Works Cited
Woolf, Virginia. ““Professions for Women” in Dreams and Inward Journeys A Rhetoric and Reader for Writers. Seventh Edition, ed. by Marjorie Ford and Jon Ford.

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