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Last Updated : Jan 25, 2018 08:44 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

How Virginia Woolf contributed in changing the role of women in society

Woolf had the gut to question the society 'norms' - the norms which had already decided a girl's fate in her life.

Virginia Woolf, the pioneering female novellist, who was born on January 25 1882, till date is remembered to be one of the most bold modernist classic writers as she raised the question of why women can not be independent.

Given the era she comes from, women were always taught to be submissive in nature. They were taught to be at home and make peace with the fact that the breadwinner will always be the man in her family. In all stages of her life, she is, by default, under control of first her father and brothers and then, her husband.

But writers like Woolf had the guts to question the society 'norms' - the norms which had already decided a girl's fate in her life. The norms, so to say, pointed that women will not be allowed to work and even in most cases, pursue education.

In her non-fiction extended essay, A Room's of One's Own, written in 1929, she writes, "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." The quote directly points to how a woman who is chained to the societal norms urges to break open and live independently.  The writer dared the society by saying that even though a woman was obliged to follow the norms she has the freedom to think. In the essay, she writes, "Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind."

Her belief in the oppressive nature of the society on women, did not stop with just one book. Almost every book of hers, puts her women characters to be in a moral dilemma between 'what is right' and what she desires. Even though her book, Mrs Dalloway, is more about dwelling into the psychology of a human,  the protagonist is shown to be bold enough to question the choice of her husband in contrast to how women were compelled to think nothing against the choice what was made by the head of the family.

Her other books, To the lighthouse and Waves, make the readers ponder on aspects such as human relationships and how mistakes made in the past, can shape one's life in the future. Woolf was known to give a human and personal touch in her writings, which is one among the many reasons why she is being remembered by Google today on her 136th birth anniversary.

The writer, however, suffered from depression. At the age of 59, the writer is believed to have committed suicide by filling up stones in the pockets of her clothing and walked into the sea, making up her mind to drown herself. The writer's body had been missing for three weeks after. Her suicide note had read, "I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time."

 
First Published on Jan 25, 2018 10:11 am
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