Virginia Woolf : A room of one's own
2nd Chapter
In the second chapter the writer has been assailed by a swarm of questions about the safety and prosperity of one sex and the poverty and insecurity of the other and about what effect poverty and tradition have on fiction. So she decided to visit the library of the British Museum in order to find some answers, consulting the books written by eminent professors about women. Nevertheless she soon discovered that truth was not to be found among the different and contrasting opinions of men who had written essays not in the light of reason and truth but in the light of emotion and partiality. These opinions were indeed so different, Virginia said, that it was impossible to "make a head or tail" of that subject. For instance Napoleon insisted that women were incapable of education while Dr. Johnson thought the opposite, he believed that "women are an overmatch for men and therefore they choose the wickest or the most ignorant. Others thought that women do not have soul on the contrary the ancient Germans believed that they were half divine. At the end of this chapter Virginia Woolf understood that women have been, through the ages, like glasses with the magical power of reflecting the figure of men twice bigger. Men has despised women since it has been the quickest and easiest way to gain self confidence, a quality desperately needed to face the hardness of life. A lot of men insisted upon the inferiority of women for if they were not inferior, men would cease to enlarge, they would loose power and self-assurance.


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