A Room of One’s Own

by: Virginia Woolf

Important Quotations Explained

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A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.

This phrase from Chapter One is perhaps the most famous line from A Room of One’s Own, and it functions as the thesis of the work. The phrase “a room of one’s own” has gained such a stronghold in our culture that it has almost become a cliché. With this line, and the entire book, Woolf has touched off one of the most important assertions of feminist literary criticisms. The oft-held argument that women produce inferior works of literature must necessarily be qualified by the fact of the circumstances of women. Unlike their male counterparts, they are routinely denied the time and the space to produce creative works. Instead, they are saddled with household duties and are financially and legally bound to their husbands. By being deprived of rooms of their own, there is little possibility for women to rectify the situation. Even though this is clearly a historical truth, Woolf’s assertion was revolutionary at its time. It recast the accomplishments of women in a new and far more favorable light, and it also forced people to realize the harsh truths about their society.