How does the First World War relate to A Room of One's Own?How does the First World War relate to A Room of One's Own?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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World War I changed the way we looked at the world.  Our endless faith in technology and naive lust for more of it dampened.  We became a cloistered world, and people withdrew into themselves.  We became terrified of another World War.  I think that your best evidence is that she killed herself.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think the importance of World War I cannot be underestimated when we consider how it had a massive impact on the world and in particular on Modernism, that as a movement called for a radical re-assessment of so much that was taken for granted. World War I in many ways was a crisis moment for humanity that really questioned everything about it and how far it had gone and developed. Behind it all, the chilling question remained of how a society and civilisation that had advanced so far was capable of such wide-spread destruction, devastation and slaughter. We know that Virginia Woolf herself was haunted by World War I, and the fear of World War II was what was partly responsible for her suicide that ended her life. It only seems appropriate then that World War I helped lead to the furnace of ideas that radically re-assessed so much, just as Woolf re-assesses gender relations in this essay.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the presence of Modernism that emerges from World War I does find its way into A Room of One's Own.  Woolf writes that "all human relations have shifted" as a result of modernism and this helps to explain the idea that gender relations have also shifted.  Woolf's reconfiguration of how women should be viewed by men is representative of this "shift" in "human relations.'  In this particular light, the shattering effect of World War I caused this change in perception to happen.  The First World War ended up shattering the Status Quo perceptions and in its place, new valences of analysis emerged.  This is where Woolf's work enters in that it presents a new interpretation of the relationship between men and women in a world where there is no clarity, little absolutism, and small level of totality.  World War I is the force that causes this fundamental change of perception and the reason why Woolf is able to pose the questions that she does.

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hscstudent | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

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I think that the presence of Modernism that emerges from World War I does find its way into A Room of One's Own.  Woolf writes that "all human relations have shifted" as a result of modernism and this helps to explain the idea that gender relations have also shifted.  Woolf's reconfiguration of how women should be viewed by men is representative of this "shift" in "human relations.'  In this particular light, the shattering effect of World War I caused this change in perception to happen.  The First World War ended up shattering the Status Quo perceptions and in its place, new valences of analysis emerged.  This is where Woolf's work enters in that it presents a new interpretation of the relationship between men and women in a world where there is no clarity, little absolutism, and small level of totality.  World War I is the force that causes this fundamental change of perception and the reason why Woolf is able to pose the questions that she does.

Could you explain a bit more how the War caused the shift in gender relations? What is it about the war that made caused the society to be so male dominated and for women to seem so irrelevant and incapable of literary success as Woolf talks about in her essay..

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