Shakespeare's Sister Virginia Woolf Analysis

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Do you know that Shakespeare is not the only gifted writer in his family? This mysterious member exists in the English writer Virginia Woolf’s imagination. In her famous essay “Shakespeare’s Sister,” Woolf uses the hypothetical anecdote of Judith Shakespeare as her main evidence to argue against a dinner guest, who believes that women are incapable of writing great literature. During the time when Judith is created, women are considered to be naturally inferior to men and are expected to be passive and domestic. Regarding her potential audience, educated men, as “conservative,” Woolf attempts to persuade them that social discouragement is the real cause of the lack of great female writers without irritating them by proposing “radical” arguments. By using casual diction, simple sentences, and well-known allusions, Woolf is able to shift the audience’s attention from the gender of the…show more content…
Woolf leads in and qualifies her evidence by using casual and vague diction, which prevents her readers from feeling offended for her sharpness and Judith’s strong mind. When she sets up the stage for Judith’s story, Woolf “randomly” points to a time period: “…say in the time of Elizabeth” (693). The word “say” adds casualty to the sentence, as if Woolf is talking about the weather, and as if she does not carefully pick the time but chooses it because of mood. Although seeming unintentional, Woolf chooses this time period on purpose –– Elizabethan England was the time of Shakespeare. The casual tone implies the substantial amount of potential evidence, as Woolf does not have to search for a certain time for support. Seeming relaxed, Woolf gradually builds up her argument without “threatening” her audience with her ambition, as if the story is a rare example that Woolf has to pick a particular period. After she completes the setting of the story, Woolf begins her narration with the phrase “let us suppose,” creating a conversational atmosphere, which
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