This is somewhat of a bittersweet moment prepping my last blog. It could be due to the fact that I completely made a mockery of the blogging assignment by leaving most of it until the last minute with few excuses (now I must tend to my aching fingers…), OR it could be due to the fact that, looking back, I realize how much I learned during this term and I can’t even begin to measure the amount respect I have gained for women writers (I’m going to go with this option…).
As an English Major, you learn about the patriarchal societies, the lack of freedom women had, the pressures placed upon them to be upstanding, respectable women. What I did not realize or even think about was how HARD it would have been for women writers to share their voice/opinion during that time and have it be heard and respected in the same way as a man’s would have been. They showed so much perseverance and strength, even if it meant somehow adapting the only avenues available to them in order to write and fulfill their dreams. They made do with what they were given, and their work still surrounds us, hundreds of years later. That is such an accomplishment and feat! The only sad part is that most of these women were never able to experience or witness the admiration and respect bestowed upon them by literary critics. They struggled for years, and put up with the disrespect of the ‘learned man’, all the while biting their tongues (for the most part) and changing their names. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to put your entire world into your work, and then not be able to claim it as your own…just because you are a woman.
This course was humbling. It opened my eyes to see, for the first time, that I am where I am today because of the trials and tribulations faced by these women we have just studied. When I first registered for this course, I did so because it was a ‘must have’ for my degree. It was for selfish reasons, and I expected it to be very uninteresting, given the time frame. I am ashamed to say that I thought it would be the same old story over, and over again. I gave no thought to the fact that the letters, poems, plays and books written by these women would be intimate and personal insights into their every day lives, their experiences, and their very creative and brilliant minds.
Now that I am more familiar with many of these women writers, I’m going to take the time to read A Room of One’s Own again. I have such a better understanding of who these women were, and what they stood for…I think that it will make me view this text in a new light. I think Virginia Woolf did these women phenomenal justice with her essay. They deserve all of that recognition, and more, in my opinion. They did not have their own set of tools, so to speak, to write and work with. They had to make do with what they were given and what they were permitted to do (or what they could get away with). Considering the restrictions placed upon them in their everyday lives, I think that it is safe to say that they they came and they absolutely, amazingly conquered all!!