Why does Woolf put so much importance on money?

Money plays a central role in Woolf’s argument because it offers writers the freedom to write on multiple levels. Primarily, money provides security and opportunity. As Woolf’s narrator observes in the contrast between Oxbridge and Fernham, the centuries of money invested in Oxbridge offer its scholars both resources and the comfort to write from. She later emphasizes the importance of money in Chapter 6, when she observes that “intellectual freedom depends on material things. Poetry depends on intellectual freedom.” That is, having resources allows space to create.

Why does Woolf create a fictional persona to walk her audience through her thoughts on women and fiction?

Woolf uses a fictional persona because Woolf believes a question that is so controversial and complicated cannot be told through nonfiction because the facts are in question. In addition, she states that if she were to simply state her opinion, she would risk herself and her biases coming under scrutiny instead of the argument itself. Instead, fiction allows for a subjective exploration of the circumstances around a topic, in hopes that this will bring to light aspects of the truth.

Why can’t the narrator enter the library at Oxbridge?

The library at Oxbridge is closed to women unless they are accompanied by a Fellow of the College or can provide a letter of recommendation. This moment, in combination with the narrator being shooed off the grassy quad, emphasizes that not only do institutions like Oxbridge have resources, but they guard those resources from outsiders. That male institutions will not share with women emphasizes that women require their own space. That women are not allowed to access these resources also brings to mind the insecurity that the narrator later observes while researching male scholars writing on women.

What happens to Judith Shakespeare?

Judith Shakespeare ultimately commits suicide after falling pregnant by a theater director. The narrator implies that Judith takes up with this director because that is the only way he will allow her to get close to the theater scene as a woman because women in Elizabethan England were dependent on the men in their lives for opportunities. The narrator imagining Judith committing suicide after pregnancy suggests that Judith realizes that once she has a child, all of her time will be devoted to the care of that child and none for her art.

Why is it significant that “Chloe liked Olivia”?

The narrator pauses over this line in Mary Carmichael’s imagined novel because she observes that so often in fiction women don’t like each other. Instead, they usually relate to each other through the men that they are attached to. For example, Cleopatra and Octavia from Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra share a relationship based on jealousy over Antony. The narrator observes that fiction that can address the aspects of women’s lives that don’t involve men breaks new and exciting ground in the world of fiction.