The Theme of Education on Virginia Woolfs Essay A Room of One’s Own
Part 1The theme of education is dominant on Virginia Woolf’s essay ‘A Room of One’s Own.’ The essay portrays education as a preserve of the men, and women’s access to education is limited. The essay, which begins by the author strolling on the grounds of Oxbridge, illustrates that women are not held in equal footing with men, but rather as a weaker sex who would not perform well in education. During the stroll, she is quickly reminded by everyone she meets that she will not fit in as she was barred. This is because the sphere of Oxbridge was separated into halves along the sex lines. Woolf succinctly captures this division when she states that, “He was a Beadle. I was a woman. This was turf. there was a path. Only the fellows and the scholars are allowed here. the gravel is for me” (Woolf, p.7). Basic educational facilities, such as access to the school library, are denied to the women. In the essay, Woolf is denied access to the school library and she vows to never step into the library again (Woolf, p.8).The essay also portrays education as characterized by superiority complex where the male gender is considered superior than the female gender. The author observes that a look into the educational materials will reveal the inevitable fact that men are superior to women. She examines the professor’s teaching and concludes that, “when the professor insisted a little too emphatically upon the inferiority of women, he was concerned not with their inferiority, but with his own superiority” (Woolf, p.34). In this respect therefore, education is a preserve that is meant to exert men’s dominance over the women.Part 2Jeanette Winterson’s novel, ‘Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit’ takes a rather controversial stance on the issues of sexuality. In the novel, the author captures the theme of homosexuality and heterosexuality through the character of Jean. Jean, though a firm believer in Christian teachings, does not prefer men as lovers. Rather, she prefers women to men and proceeds to have an illicit affair with Melanie. When the couple is discovered by Jean’s mother, Jean is heavily rebuked by her mother who refers to such affection as ungodly and the work of Satan and thus they are made to confess before the church, an action to which jean objects. This position is evidenced by the pastor when he states before the church, “These children of God have fallen foul of their lusts. These children are full of demons” (Winterson, p.102). This serves to show the place of homosexuality in religion. Lesbianism in religion is treated as a sin, and any person deemed as engaging in the practice is shunned. Sexuality is symbolized by the orange fruit, which Jean’s mother believes to be the only fruit. However, this view is not shared by Jean who believes that oranges are not the only fruits and thus heterosexuality is just one of the many ways of living life, and which should be held equally with these other ways of living life.Part 3 Virginia Woolf’s essay ‘A Room of One’s Own’ makes a wonderful read for any person that is interested in understanding the history of the social status of women in society. The Author uses a simple, and yet captivating style of putting forward her feministic ideas about the historical, as well as the contemporary, status of women in the society. The book focuses primarily on the theme of education and its effect on the position of women. The book argues that throughout history, women have always played second fiddle to men, who have denied them access to education and expression through art so as to maintain their dominance over them. On education, the author alleges that education has been made expensive by the men so that it has extended beyond the means of most women (Woolf, p.52). She then proceeds to illustrate that this inequality is not limited to education only, but to other spheres of life as well. In light of this therefore, the author gives a very good account of the rights of the women at that particular period by reflecting on the inequalities that existed amongst the two sexes.Works citedWinterson, Jeanette. Oranges Are Not The only Fruits. London: Pandora Press, 1985. Print.Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One’s Own. London: Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich, 1929. Print.