September 20, 2011
“Professions for Women” written by Virginia Woolf is a very
confusing piece of literature at first glance. She uses metaphors to explain
what she means without saying exactly what she literally means. When you
closely look at this essay you can see the well-crafted argument hidden in her
words. She talks about an “Angel” who causes her to become detached from her
work by distracting her and suggesting subtly that she should write to inflate
a man’s ego-to not go against society’s norms. Woolf’s next point is the many
obstacles that women face when becoming “a doctor, a lawyer, a civil servant”, etc.
Women are held back by society’s standards and expectations as well as
themselves and their weaknesses.
essay is mostly in a narrative style of writing. Woolf uses narration to describe
“Angel”; a phantom who tells her to “go with the norm” to not do anything that
involves her opinion because she is a woman, and women should not cause uproars
or “have a mind of their own”. She tells
the story of how she conquered “Angel” which shows that women’s doubts and
fears can hold them back from their true potential. She continues on to talk
about what happens after she has “killed” Angel. She realizes that after you
defeat one of your weaknesses there are many more after. There are more
personal hurdles you must jump over as well as society’s obstacles. She has a
lack of pathos and a lack of connection with the audience. Nothing in the essay
particularly stands out or makes you feel any emotion except for perhaps
confusion. The essay uses metaphors to emphasize the points in a bigger way.
For example the Angel seems to be some subconscious voice in her mind as she
works which holds her back. The essay follows a chronological order where she
talks about how she became a writer, to the part of herself that started sabotaging
her views, and then to the aftermath of realizing there are more things holding
women back than themselves; this appeals to the logos of the essay. The essay
uses personal experiences to make her points which establishes Woolf’s ethos.
Woolf is very knowledgeable about her subject and the connection between her,
the speaker, and the subject is very distinct and well connected.
I agree with Woolf’s point of view however I
believe that many points can also be relevant to men. Men also have
insecurities and they can also experience obstacles in their paths to success.
In the current time men and women are almost at an equal place regarding
careers; or at least at the highest level of equality so far. I believe this
essay would be more relevant in the past, however can still be used today.