In terms of dramatic structure, what are the consequences in A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although A Room of One's Own is not a piece of fiction but an essay discussing and attempting to show the disparity between men and women's issues and the belief that women are inferior by nature rather than compromised through lack of education and opportunity, it does follow a dramatic structure. The narrator is an unnamed woman - representing any woman - who reveals the reasons for women's lack of brilliance generally but particularly, in the literary field.

The consequences come from Woolf's assertion that a woman with a "room of one's own" and an income which ensures comfort can achieve literary success: "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." (Ch 1) Historically, this has been denied her. Having established that the truth is a very subjective issue and circumstances affect everything said or written, good or bad, Woolf can confirm that, as a result, the poor reputation of women in the literary field has been misrepresented. 

In asserting this consequence, Woolf refers to Shakespeare's fictional sister, Judith, who commits suicide due to having no outlet for her genius; ironically, the same genius that ensured William Shakespeare's phenomenal success: "It would have been impossible, completely and entirely, for any woman to have written the plays of Shakespeare in the age of Shakespeare." (Ch 3)

The most significant consequence in A Room of One's Own has to be that women cannot win if they continue to believe that they are inferior. Woolf maintains that, although men have created the perception that women are intellectually incapable of  producing classic works of literature (and they have their proof in the lack of great women writers), women themselves contribute to this view by consistently producing poor works. However, she goes to great lengths to assert that this is because of lack of opportunity and lack of a belief in their own ability. 

Woolf asserts that, at no point, can she categorically state a fact or proof as everything she has to say is "opinion." This is the most compelling consequence of all. As long as opinion differs and others are affected by opinion and draw their own conclusions from it, women will remain limited in their efforts.