Feminism and Liberation in the Works of Bronwen Wallace and Virginia Wolf

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‘A simple poem for Virginia Wolf’ is authored by Bronwen Wallace and released without a specific time frame. “A Room of One’s Own’ is an extended essay that was written by Virginia Wolf and published in 1929. These works emerge out of a time period in the 20th century whereby Feminism and Women’s Suffrage experienced a renaissance. Topics of feminism and liberation are commonplace in societal interactions; this ranges from news media to amendments in education curriculums. The aforementioned works speak about the marginalization and subverting of women’s roles and achievements in society. These women write about the physical and psychological barriers that prevent women from being free-flowing and reach the pinnacle of their excellence as it concerns writing. In the opening paragraph of chapter 5 Wolf postulates that ‘the natural simplicity, the epic age of women’s writing, may have gone’. This gives credence to the ideal that both authors within this framework are communicating, which is that the marginalization of women has resulted in a direct detriment in writing creativity and free-flowing. Bronwen Wallace’s poem is a form of an ode to Virginia Wolf and also touts her creativity and foresight in regards to her proclivity for objective authorship. In stanza 2, from lines 5-8; Wallace details her reverence for Wolf’s objectivity, “The complexities of women’s friendships or the countless gritty details of an ordinary woman’s life that never appear in poems at all.”

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Wallace had prefaced these lines by explaining that this piece of writing started off a poem for Virginia Wolf and the reverence for the author for inspiring her as well as numerous other women. This is an example of the feminist parallels that exist between the two works as either author is writing to inspire women. Wallace writing during the first half of the 20th century states that “There are Jane Harrison's books on Greek archaeology; Vernon Lee's books on aesthetics; Gertrude Bell's books on Persia. There are books on all sorts of subjects which a generation ago no woman could have touched”. This further cements the viewpoint that the 20th century served as a form of a renaissance not only in women’s movements and suffrage but also manifested in the form of female writers becoming revered and achieving acclaim for their literary works. These literary works share a parallelism in that these works have numerous perspectives that contest the traditional hegemonies that were staple and commonplace in the 20th century.

The works analyzed within this article use literary devices such as metaphors (A poem for Virginia Wolf) as well as references and allusions (A room of One’s own) and these devices help to communicate a message. Exemplary of this is Wolf making an allusion to the Suffrage movement and the unintended effect of the movement; “The Suffrage campaign was no doubt to blame. It must have roused in men an extraordinary desire for self-assertion; it must have made them lay an emphasis upon their own sex and its characteristics which they would not have troubled to think about had they not been challenged” (Wolf). Wolf is asserting the viewpoint that the Suffrage movements of the early 1900s created a form of a pushback from men who believed that allowing women autonomy would escalate drastically without regulation. Bronwen Wallace uses the metaphor in Stanza 1, “I wanted the poem to be carefree and easy like Children playing in the snow”. This is an insight into her viewpoint that many of the grievances that Wolf had communicated in her works are still commonplace in the world of Bronwen Wallace. An amalgamation of all information presented within this article is conclusive to regard both authors as using the art-form of writing to educate the masses and also create awareness for an often silenced plight.

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