Virginia Woolf's Androgyny

2027 Words9 Pages
Kwan Man Yi Rowena
Prof. Evelyn Chan
ENGE 5330
21 October 2014
On the Road to an Equilibrium of Gender Identity
“[A] great mind is androgynous. It is when this fusion takes place that the mind is fully fertilized and uses all its faculties.” (Woolf 92) Quoting Coleridge, Virginia Woolf hypothesizes in her famous essay A Room of One’s Own that the human mind is in its most natural state when both the masculine and feminine sides spiritually co-operate and have a balanced power over the mind. And only when the two parts fertilize could the greatest advantage be brought out. In other words, instead of a war of sexes, Woolf’s androgyny, as she claims in her essay, emphasizes on gender harmony. Being called both a modernist and a feminist, Woolf is one of the pioneers who endeavored to make a turn in the human history. Mrs. Dalloway illustrates the possibility of women going out from the private sphere to the public sphere compared to many Victorian literary classics from the last few centuries from her time. With most characters showing explicitly both masculine and feminine traits, the novel marks a milestone on the path of feminism in a post-war modern society. And yet, instead of showing her readers how great an androgynous mind could be, Woolf might just be showing us minds that have a tendency to go to the opposite end of their gender identity, and this is done, in Mrs. Dalloway, in a very imbalanced way. This essay aims to argue that, instead of promoting androgyny and the
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