A Room of One’s Own
Study Questions & Essay Topics
1. In this highly materialist argument, to what degree does Woolf leave open the possibility that an individual genius may rise above such limiting circumstances as poverty or lack of education?
2. How would you describe the form of this essay? Is it an argument? If so, how does it differ from more conventional forms of argumentation, and to what effect?
3. Woolf claims that the particular social realities in which women live create distinctively female values and outlooks. Does she think this is a good thing or a bad thing?
Suggested Essay Topics
1. What is the role of tradition in the experience of a women writer? In that of writers in general?
2. What does Woolf say about the creativity that women have always expressed in non-artistic ways? (You might want to refer to her portrait of Mrs. Ramsay in To The Lighthouse , especially in the section "The Window," Chapters 17-19.)
3. What predictions does Woolf make for women's writing in the future? How do they look from our current vantage point?
4. Does Woolf think poems are superior to novels? Explain.
5. Why, in Woolf's view, did Elizabethan women not write poetry?
6. How does Woolf treat the question of the female body? What does she mean when she says at the end of Chapter 4 that "the book has somehow to be adapted to the body"?
7. Woolf is careful to acknowledge the unmeasured and immeasurable value of the labor women have traditionally done. Yet she also projects a future in which women will have access to all kinds of careers. Does Woolf come down in favor of one or the other of these lifestyles? What does she take to be the pros and cons of each?
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