Sunday, October 17, 2010

Why have women always been so poor?

These chapters seem to be focusing mainly on the differences between the treatment of men and women in academia. When Beadle kicks her off the grass I think that is meant to be a sort of literal representation of the intellectual chasm between the two genders. Right before this occurred she was having an idea, and the incident made her lose it. So by enforcing the rule about the grass, the officer was crushing her creativity. Also she is not even allowed into the library, further emphasizing her exclusion from this world.

I think to further delineate the differences between the way the two sexes are treated, chapter one describes a meal at Oxbridge, the college for men and Fernham, the woman's college. The men have an abundance of food, pastries, and wine, while the meal at Fernham which is a shadow of that. This is symbolism to the way the poverty addled system of educating women compares to that of males, which have always been generously bankrolled. The author wonders if this might have all been different if somewhere a few generations ago women would have learned how to make money. This doesn't seem entirely fair, since women were not really allowed to have jobs, or their own livelihoods. The author acknowledges this and decides women were more likely to be treated as property than own it. This novel/ essay seems to be echoing some of the points in Orlando about the differences between the experiences of men and women. There is a culture that relies on their exclusion.

Something pattern I've noticed in the text so far is ambiguity especially when it comes to the subject of truth. The narrator says on the very first with a subject as controversial and large as this there is no easy way to come to a real conclusion. So the novel is just intending to expand on problem. Also, when the narrator introduces herself, she is ambiguous about what name she should be called. This also serves to make her sort of an "everywoman" that many can relate to. Also the book is focused on fiction, a genre with an ambiguous relationship to the truth, instead of any other literary genre. In fact I think the genre of literature is similar to the way Woolf describes her story in the first few pages, lies mixed with truth Another theme that seems almost too obvious to mention is money. More specifically, the importance of having money if one is going to be independent.

I love the part when she's looking at literature about women, and it's always written by angry men. There's something a little funny about this I think. Now, if you looked for literature about men, you certainly wouldn't find nothing, you would find a lot of books written by angry women. :) This emotion in the man's writing, she finds very distasteful and that's why her point of view in her own book is removed. We find out that this book comes after woman's suffrage. So it is set in a time where there are tons and tons of changes happening, but they are just in the infant stages. The way the author supports herself is with an inheritance from an aunt. A few years before, she would not have been allowed to inherit.