Three Guineas by Virginia Woolf

Updated December 28, 2021

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Three Guineas by Virginia Woolf essay

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When writing a book, play, novel or a poem, the author intends to pass a specific message to the reader. The Book Three Guineas (1938) by Virginia Woolf is a representation of women emancipation and the fight for the right of women. Woolf uses this book to explore social, economic and financial aspects affecting the life of a woman. She further assesses the effect of an institution like government, church and the general social order on the life and the wellbeing of a woman.

The book is published before the Second World War has just started indicating that it was written during the military rule of Adolf Hitler to express inequalities in all aspects of life including social and gender. This paper discusses the relationship between private and public worlds as seen by Virginia Woolf. It also assesses the association between militarism and the idea of masculinity and femininity. The paper further considers how Woolf views social institutions like education, profession and press play a role in promoting war. Coercion and dominance of women by men are also considered an extension to how it connects to coercion and dominance of citizens by dictators.

Woolf believes that there is a connection between domestic tyranny and fascism, she says, ‘……the public and the private worlds are inseparably connected; that the tyrannies and servilities of the one are the tyrannies and servilities of the other.’ (Virginia, 1938) By this, she means that fascism is patriarchy that has been extended to its maximum.

The military has been a preserve of men, women are not allowed to be in the military. That way the author says, ‘…who can say whether, as time goes on, we may not dress military uniform, with gold laces on our breast…’ (Virginia, 1938) Woolf associates patriarch society with war because it is men, who are considered warriors and hero of the society go to fight. She wonders how educated people men and women would influence young males that the fight was heroic. It is these people who averred that the injured in fight merited all care and commendation. Herr Hitler said that women were better in bandaging wounded warrior. Thus, the fighting continues to thrive when the greatness of men is based upon the exploit of warriors.

The story on the success of a woman is told through Mary Kingsley who has been denied education in favor of his brother since the society is patriarchal. Education plays a role in the promotion of war since women loathed it as it seemed to promote and recognized men. She points out that women eagerness for the WW1; ‘so profound was her unconscious loathing for the education of the private house with its cruelty, its poverty, its hypocrisy, and immortality.’ (Virginia, 1938) Media such as newspaper promote war by what they write and pass to the people to read. For instance, Woolf writes, ‘But also it is obvious, from today’s newspaper, that however many dissentients there are, the great majority of your sex are today in favor of war.’ (Virginia, 1938) This can be interpreted to mean that there are so many people who promote war and thus it should be fought

Sex distinction is manifested by the inequality that is perpetrated by the society, Women are seen as people who are untrustworthy, unsatisfactory and lack necessary abilities. That why Baldwin support the oppression of women and asserts ‘it is to the public interest to keep them to the lower grades where, if they are paid less, they have less chance of impeding the transaction of public business’. The women lament that the solution would be easy but they have been denied it by the Prime Minister. The minister further asserted that the working women are there to collect secret information for the adversaries at a cost.

This, therefore, shows the extent to which the society, including the leaders, have disregarded women, who are seen as less than men. Even in private lives, women are under the control of men. The number of women joining universities is limited and regulated, most of these women have to take care of the old men and women at home. This is evident from the way Joseph Whitaker, a Government and Public Officer who estimate the annual income of sergeants of dragons, archbishops and other servants but there is no listing for a wife, mother or daughter, meaning there is no salary for them.

All institution, during the times of Woolf, was dominated by men, this is because the society was patriarchy. Patriarchy is observed in the military that is the most evident symbol of patriarchy and its extreme form further manifest patriarchy and oppression. Woolf drags the church, politics and the society in the patriarch system that promotes oppression of women and war. On the part of education, it is seen as a vehicle that is used by men to please the women but is valueless. ‘…they also prove that education is by no means a positive value; it is not good in all circumstances, and good for all people; it is only good for some people and for some purposes.’ This means that education cannot be relied on to guide the society that is too inclined to pursue war and discriminate women as if they are not citizens. Women are presented as people who have little or no say, they have to be loyal to the school, the church, and the country the institutions that have been used by men for oppression. Woolf, therefore, urges the women to reject the call to be loyal to this institution and men.

Just like the women who are oppressed and dominated by men at home, the citizens are oppressed and dominated by a dictator. Wolf declares that men have no right to expect women to conform to the same sense of nationalism. She says, ‘…as a woman, I have no country. As a woman, I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.’ Women are denied an opportunity to get an education so that they earn living to the cause if challenging war. By linking women domestic struggle to become educated and earning living, she links the private and public life.

When a person is fighting, she does it to earn to keep the peace. This is what is intended to promote peace and tranquility and in effect eradicate dictatorship. Women give us the view of what is happening and how peace taste like. Woolf asserts that those who keep women at home are no better than dictators, the bold passage is an oppressive form that violates the right of women. She asserts that a dictator is a patriarch who has gone national. A dictator dictates how people will live, he makes a distinction between the sexes but also the races.

The book, Three Guinea by Virginia Woolf is a presentation of a fight against oppression and inequality between men and women. Institutions such as education, profession, and press play a role in promoting war since men are seen as heroes while the press spread propaganda that promote war. Militarism and notion of masculinity and femininity come into play in the text because the military was the reserve of men who were masculine and strong than women. That why they were heroes who would fight for their country. She, however, warns other women not to be loyal to the oppressors.

Three Guineas by Virginia Woolf essay

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Three Guineas by Virginia Woolf. (2021, Dec 28). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/three-guineas-by-virginia-woolf/


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