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Virginia Woolf was considered as a precursor of contemporary feminism.

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Introduction

Virginia Woolf was considered as a precursor of contemporary feminism. Killing the Angel in the House: Seven Essays is not only an insight to the intriguing mind of Virginia Woolf, but also an insight into the society of her time and of times gone by, of how women writers, how she, has struggled to get to where they did. The titles of her essays - Professions for Women, The Feminine Note in Fiction, Women Novelists, The Intellectual Status of Women, Two Women, Memories of a Working Women's Guild and Ellen Terry - display to us the breadth not only in her subject matter but of the writing styles among this collection. "I discovered if I were going to review books I should need to do battle with a certain phantom. And the phantom was a woman, and when I came to know her better I called her after the heroine of a famous poem, The Angel in the House." Coventry Patmore's excessively Victorian poem The Angel in the House extols the virtues of the woman who is subservient goddess of home and hearth. ...read more.

Middle

Woolf's essay depicting the Killing of the Angel in the House is more than just for the woman writer but it is about the necessity for the emancipation of women from the shackles of the kitchen. Woolf offers women in general some very important truths, and challenged women for generations to come with her honesty, frankness and courage. The Angel in the House is a spiritual being that resides in every woman. Whether she obeys it or not is up to her, but that does not change the fact that the spirit is there, admonishing them to act in a way that pleases not only the Angel, but also the people around her. The Angel represents all that the woman is expected by society - or men - to be. In Woolf's generation, the Angel symbolises what the Victorian epitome of womanhood is. But does Woolf succeed in killing her? Does she truly disappear when Woolf thinks she is finally dead? Maybe, and maybe not, because if she is really gone, then Woolf would be free to write or say whatever she wants. ...read more.

Conclusion

She is alive and well today as she was seventy years ago. In society today, women face all sorts of obstacles to their freedom and voices. All women -- and men -- have an Angel in the House hovering in their subconscious, telling what they should and should not say, think, or do. The Angel comes in many forms. She represents different things to different people. Woolf's Angel symbolized self-sacrifice without choice; she wanted women to be mere shadows, using their entire existence for the glory of others. The Angel that plagued Woolf was despised by her because it wanted her to become like the rest of women in her day, and Woolf wanted to break out of the conventional role that had been assigned to her, both on the inside and outside of her being. In modern times, women still assume the societal duties that they have for generations, but there are also new parts to play. It is those very positions that the next generation of women will be struggling against and eventually breaking out of, a newborn butterfly fighting its way out of a winter cocoon. Tara Lyn Dobie ...read more.

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