• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

A comparison of language and change in Woolf's A Room of One's Own and Wollstonecraft's A Vindications of the Rights of Woman.

Extracts from this document...


A comparison of language and change in Woolf's A Room of One's Own and Wollstonecraft's A Vindications of the Rights of Woman. Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman was published in 1792, a period of radical reform in the wake of the French Revolution, and one of the first examples of feminist literature. Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, written over a century later and published in 1929, appeared in the wake of several feminist movements, the Suffragettes of the previous century and women being given the same voting rights as men just a year before, a result from women's involvement in the First World War. Both texts are in the form of an extended essay, in the written mode, with the purpose to inform and persuade. The audience for both texts is primarily the higher classes, educated people with the money to send their children to private schools, hence the discussion of schooling in both text excerpts. An immediate discrepancy is apparent in both texts; though both address an educated audience, the levels of formality differ. ...read more.


The use of semi-colons to create verbose complex sentences are in direct contrast to Woolf's frequently shorter compound and complex sentences, despite even employing numerous semi-colons; "I need not say that what I am about to describe has no existence; Oxbridge is an invention; so is Fernham; 'I' is merely a convenient term for somebody who has no real being." Woolf's sentences, being shorter, remain more coherent than Wollstonecraft's frequently prolix passages, reflect a change in the standard of accessibility of texts, a 20th Century audience demanding concise information opposed to the 18th Century style of formal and complex language (indeed, the Romantic poetry movement of Wollstonecraft's era called for an end to the 'pretentious' and exclusive styles of writing favoured by authors of the time). Woolf also uses grammar in the lowering of her tenor, using the second person pronoun "you" to refer to the reader directly, something the Wollstonecraft text declines to do, as well employing the impartial first person "one" ("One can only give one's audience...") for an aloof, comedic effect. Though the use of 'one' may be expected in the archaic, more formal text of Wollstonecraft, it is omitted. ...read more.


However, their use differs; Wollstonecraft keeps the references short and aims to compliment the emotional appeals used in a persuasive text, whereas Woolf is highly literary and employs rhetoric in her descriptions, rich in modifiers, personification and latinate language; "To the right and left bushes of some sort, goldren and crimson, glowed with the colour, even it seemed burnt with heat, of fire. On the further bank the willows wept in perpetual lamentation, their hair about their shoulders." Woolf's inclusion of the semantic field in her rhetoric again suggests a more relaxed attitude towards language in the 20th Century compared to the 18th - considering the 'groundbreaking' natural philosophy and metaphysical aspects of Wollstonecraft's comtemporaries' poetry (the Romantics, such as Wordsworth, Keats and Shelley), it is hardly surprising there is a lack of richly decorated language and personification in Rights of Woman; as a persuasive text, it would not have been taken seriously. Lexically, further differences show a change in language. Wollstonecraft frequently makes use of emotional lexis, such as; "...the physical and moral evils that torment mankind, as well as of the vices and follies that degrade and destroy women..." This suggests that what influences language has also changed. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Investigating how language has changed in children's literature; in relation to interaction between ...

    5 star(s)

    The lack of Latinate vocabulary could be traced back to the intended audience in both these later texts (children from nine to thirteen years). By keeping the lexis relatively simple, the books are easily read by a much wider audience.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Analysis of Rhetoric in "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer

    5 star(s)

    own safety as well as not having a grasp on the concept of his own mortality. He here reasons that McCandless always had these traits, they were innate and would be born and die along with him. McCandless could not help the fact that he was supremely overconfident; he was simply born that way.

  1. Investigation into Gender Differences in the Language of Personal Profiles on Dating Websites

    I was interested to discover whether there are gender differences in the characteristics asked for and advertised. The diagram below shows the percentage of males and females in my sample that advertise and request various characteristics. The graph shows that some characteristics do seem to be linked to/considered more desirable in a particular gender.

  2. A one to one interaction with an elderly woman Aunty Emily to try through ...

    E: I have lived here all my life. It's the best home any one could ever wish for. T: Have you thought of living any where else? I felt this was a good question because I would know if she would like to spend some time somewhere else just for a while.

  1. An analysis of variations in style in comparison to Standard English.

    and "E woot coom" ("He would come"). They would pronounce the expression "I don't know" like "I doont noo". Another point is that this dialect is quite similar to the accent Indians or Pakistanis have when they talk English. Many of these dialectal features also appear in their accent.

  2. Language Investigation: Barack Obama Inaugural Address

    We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost.

  1. Philip K Dick Comparison

    None of this paranoia was helped by the 1971 break-in into his apartment where nearly everything from cancelled checks to unpublished manuscripts was stolen. However, this incident was not the cause of Dick's paranoia; it was a mere confirmation of it.


    I ignored that look, instead, i knelt in front of her. I held her hands and looked deeply into her eyes. I was trying to find some hope that somehow, I could get her back into what she was before.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work