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Historical Review of Essence of Financial Independence on Women Literature (Book Review Sample)



Historical Review of Essence of Financial Independence on Women Literature
Financial fortitude is a fundamental aspect of life as it not only determines life choices but is also integral in shaping the life of an individual. As thus, financial capability by far remains the biggest influence on the availability of opportunities and the scope approach with which those opportunities are harnessed to impact the quality of life. However, gender disparity in respect to financial predisposition creates huge long standing opportunity gaps and discriminations, particularly against women. Thomas Piketty points out that economic discrimination is the primary cause of inequality between men and women that translate to other spheres of life (Piketty 2014, 13). Money and poverty are indeed one of the most outstanding issues that arise in Virginia Wolfe's A Room of One's Own. Just how do money and wealth contribute to the disparity between men and won especially in the context and light of Woolf's work? As a result, this paper seeks to delve into an analysis of financial discrimination against women with principal literary interpretation based on Woolf's literary work in the book A Room of One's Own by employing a historical review and contextualization.
Woolf identifies early in the text that the core instrument for producing women writers is money as it is the difference that creates male writers. In this regard, she persistently argues for the importance of material things like food and money and how they are essential towards making good art. The author observes that books do not just appear from the will to write them alone. She points to the fact that books are the work of suffering human beings and are attached to grossly material things, like health and money and the house we live in (Wolfe). It is, therefore, understandable as the author argues that it is impossible to delineate art from the personal context and predisposition of the artist. The fact of only few successful female writers at the time of writing this book I testament to the veracity of the argument of the writer that societal predispositions with regards to financial freedom and ability impacts both quality and quantity of work of art by the marginalized women of the time (Carter & Mears, 2011, 103).
In the time that that preceded he First World War, British society had changed massively since most women had learned to live freely and in control of all aspects of their lives while men were away at war and many whose spouses had been casualties were forced to carry on as breadwinners and their decision makers. As thus, women resisted attempts to revert to the older conservative way of life in which they were socially secondary to men (Somervell, 1950, 45). The book reflects this notion a well as the societal difficulty for women to do this due to lower spending power that left them unable to acquire the best education as well as express themselves with wholesomeness due to the skewed social and corporate environment that mostly favored men at their expense. The book subtly highlights this historical fact where women were not able to get the prerequisite training and preparation as a result of their weak financial ability despite their urgent need for social goodwill to contribute equally as men.
Wolfe points out in her piece that the essence of money in women's academic development cannot be understated as it grants the freedom needed to create art. She ends the book in guarded optimism by pointing out financial inequality for women as the stumbling block between women and writing good book. She points that as having been the problem and probable barrier for women writers into the future. The author makes clear a fact of life that intellectual freedom is not achievable without material things. She goes further to elucidate that poetry is dependent on intellectual freedom. She makes a reasonable conclusion that women have always been poor, not for two hundred years but since the beginning of time (Wolfe). As thus, it is tough, as a result of their low financial ability for women to make art. The author makes imaginary parallels with a hypothetical sister to Shakespeare, Judith, who has all the talent and genius of Shakespeare and the only distinction between them, is the availability of opportunity. She ends up pregnant and committing suicide without having written anything because society cannot afford her an opportunity as she would not have the financial freedom with which to achieve self-actualization while Shakespeare, on the other hand, goes on to establish his legacy as a writer. Wolfe gives the reason for few novelists in history and massive failures I this regards as a lack of financial independence, freedom as a result of financial independence as well as the ability to experience the world unbound and be able to experience the world to the fullest and achieve the limits of their abilities. The observation is very accurate as indeed, the number of women who engaged in the literary and artistic worlds was proportionally much inferior to that of men and societal inclinations made it difficult to notice the few women that struggled to emerge in the field at that time when literature was primarily a male discipline (Warwick, 1898, 31).
The assessment is a reflection of the place of a woman in the Victorian times in which British society was guarded by norms and was seen as a period of relative peace and prosperity. In such times, the role of women was limited in society and demanded women to focus more on raising families and focus attention within the domestic setting with only fewer excursions that were primarily overseen by men (Dagar, 2014, 74). The social norms prescribed subservience and gentle acceptance of womanhood as being centered on motherhood and guarded engagement with the outside world. As a result, women were not financially empowered and fared worse in comparison to men since such social norms did not give any substantial incentives for economic empowerment of women who were under the care of men and did not need much education and freedom to carry out the simple chores required of them. This is perhaps the kind of thinking that informed Woolf's father not to invest much into the formal education of his daughters and only educate his sons instead as was the norm at the time where very few women acquired formal education.
Financial ability is also seen by the author as ideal for freedom of women so that they don't have to be dependent on men to earn a living and make life choices that bring the best out of them and leave them in direct control of their destiny. In the text, despite Mary having inherited her money, she tells the women in the crowd to earn five hundred a year by their wits (4.21). This is a pointer to the need for financial independence for women and how important it is for them to earn their keep to enjoy and appreciate total freedom to be able to express themselves through art. The historical contextualization of the book is reflective of the place of women during the period leading up to the great depression of 1930 just before the book was published in 1929. At this point, a feminist campaign was underway to reject the perception that a woman's place was at home (Green, 200, 16).
The campaign was exacerbated by the fact that staying at home was no longer feasible to women at a time of great need and lack. Waiting for men to provide was a great inconvenience that could not be afforded as whatever was brought home was not sustainable or even enough to cover the many needs that arose with the great slump that greatly affected financial power of men. As a result, the concept of a working class British woman became increasingly entrenched into everyday parlance. Antagonism arose when men felt threatened as women started getting into conventionally male-dominated fields. Men felt that women were being unreasonable taking up the places of men at the expense of greater domestic needs that required their attention. It is also important to note that this was a time preceding the First World War, a time when Britain had suffered massive casualties, most of them men. As thus, many families had women taking charge of the family either because the male breadwinners had died at war or were wounded and no longer able to actively earn a living for their families. Besides, some women had the task of actively providing for families during the preceding years of war and appreciated the financial independence and freedom of choice it brought upon their lives hence the fight for equality. As a result, women desperately needed economic liberation in the form of being able to earn their keep and make their life choices without being bound by the idea of staying home as homemakers to wait upon men to provide as it was not tenable anymore (Obelkevich & Catterall, 1994, 56). In this way, financial independence and the freedom it comes with was sort as a necessity in rapidly changing times. Such prevailing financial times are of great influence on Woolf's work are they reflected and gave voice to a wider campaign for equality between men and women in Britain as well as economic reforms that gave more autonomy and equality to women.
Woolf deliberates on the opportunity for women to produce high-quality work like those of Shakespeare. In this regard, she highlights the difficulty faced by women to join prestigious learning institutions like Oxford and Cambridge. Historically, these are Britain's oldest and best-known institutions of learning where learning started way long before their official designation as universities I the thirteenth century. However, it wasn't until 1869 that Girton Collage, a branch of Cambridge University became the first university to admit female students and later established Newnham collage, a branch specifically for women in 1871 (Obelkevich ...
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