Who is the protagonist and who the antagonist in A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Virginia Woolf experienced the prejudiced viewpoints of society as she remained largely uneducated until after the death of her parents as it was simply unnecessary to educate women. A Room of One's Own reveals the challenges women face, created by their own limitations and the patriarchal society in which they function. 

Woolf imagines the life of Shakespeare's imaginary sister and how her genius would not be applauded but would probably culminate in her own suicide due to having no outlet for the same creative streak as her famed brother. Charlotte Bronte is an example of the angonies of being a writer unable to express herself sufficiently, culminating in an unfortunate end. 

Believed to be intellectually inferior to their main counterparts, women of the early twentieth century were still subject to dominance in education and Woolf believes that, even though women began delivering incredible literature in the early nineteenth century already (Jane Austen), it would still take another century (beyond Woolf's own) before they would be taken seriously. 

What makes a great writer, according to Woolf, is an ability to look outside restrictions imposed by society, outside gender barriers and beyond expectations. Truly great writers - male and female - are the result. 

The protagonist in A Room of One's Own is the narrator although Woolf does point out that it is a nameless woman and not herself as this would restrict the interpretation. The antagonist follows from this as it is a perception, not a person, being the influences that affect women. 

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