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What is the angel in the house in "Professions for Women" by Virginia Woolf?

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sajib | Student | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted August 12, 2010 at 3:49 PM via web

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What is the angel in the house in "Professions for Women" by Virginia Woolf?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 12, 2010 at 10:39 PM (Answer #1)

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In this speech by Virginia Woolf, she talks about the need to kill the Angel in the House.  The Angel in the House is the ideal of womanhood at that time.  There are two important aspects to this -- the woman is an angel and she is in the house.

Because she is an angel, she has to act in certain ways.  She has, more or less, to be perfect.  She has to always care about other people rather than herself.  Her life is devoted to her husband and children, not to herself.

Importantly, all of what she does is in the house.  She must stay at home and care for her family, not go out and do any work outside the house.

Here is how Woolf puts it

She was intensely sympathetic. She was immensely charming. She was utterly unselfish. She excelled in the difficult arts of family life. She sacrificed herself daily.

Woolf thought that this ideal stifled women and forced them to try to be the Angel in the House.

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