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Critical and Evaluative Response to Virginia Woolf’s Professions for Women Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), a British author and feminist, was born and grew up in London. At that time girls weren’t sent to school, so she was educated by her parents. Although she was a woman, Woolf became a significant figure in London literature society and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Professions for Women is one of her essays in which she talks about the difficulties women should deal with in all kinds of professions.
This essay is considerably impressive.
It made me think about myself, as a woman, and the problems I face during the path to success. Woolf points out to many obstacles that women fight when becoming “a doctor, a lawyer, a civil servant”, (277) etc. They are held back by their fears and doubts as well as society’s beliefs and judgments. Woolf talks about a “phantom” (274) that used to interrupt her when she was writing.
She says that phantom is an obstacle that women should get rid of it to reach their goal. In my opinion “phantom” can be anything. Everyone, regardless of kind, class, sex has his/her own phantom. It represents an obstacle of the mind.
It’s a negative thought that comes between us and our aims, and keeps us back from maintaining the success. It’s something we have to learn to break to improve ourselves, and as Woolf says “It is far harder to kill a phantom than a reality” (275).
Woolf uses beautiful metaphor to explain the “phantom. ” She likens it to an “Angel”, and calls her “The Angel in the House” (274), and continues “It was she who bothered me and wasted my time and so tormented me that at last I killed her”, and describes her briefly: “She was intensely sympathetic. She was immensely charming…” (274).
Woolf also makes a strong imagination of herself “writing a novel in a state of trance”: “The image of a fisherman lying sunk in dreams on the verge of a deep lake with a rod held out over the water” (276). These literary figures attracted me and made me want to read more by this writer. The essay is mostly in a narrative style of writing. Woolf uses narration to describe what occurred to her when she was writing. She tells the story of how she did the battle with the “Angle”, which represents women’s hesitation and fear, and overcame the phantom that wanted to prevent her from being her true self.
She goes on to talk about what happened after she has “killed” the “Angel. ” She found that after we overwhelm one of our weaknesses there are many more to come. There are more personal obstacles we must jump over as well as society’s obstacles. In my opinion this essay has and had a very effective reflection of women’s life style. Woolf encourages women to take professional careers, such as a doctor or a lawyer, and also encourages them to actively participate in society. It says that in order to maintain the success, we have to face many oncoming obstacles, whether they are material or society or even ourselves.
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