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A Room of One's Own
by Virginia Woolf
Mary Beton Timeline and Summary
One October day, Mary sits at the bank of a river that runs through the campus of Oxbridge, thinking deep thoughts about Women and Fiction. She's getting up to walk to the library when a dude shows up and tells her that only men can walk on the grass. (Specifically, men who study at or teach at the university.) When she gets to the library, she learns that women can't use the library without being accompanied by a man associated with the university. (In case they menstruate on the books or something?) So she leaves and wanders by a church full of beadles (university officials). She's learned her lesson and doesn't even try to enter. Hey, luckily, it's a nice day outside. She heads to a fantastic luncheon on the campus and then walks to Fernham, where she has a miserable dinner. After dinner, she and her friend Mary Seton confab about why women are poor while men are rich. The next day she goes to the British Library to learn more about the subject. All she finds are a lot of books by a lot of angry men, and so obviously she's not going to learn anything useful. Tummy rumbling, she has lunch near the British Museum and looks through the paper while eating. The next day she turns to her bookshelf, hoping to learn about women throughout history. Turns out, there's not much written about women's lives. Instead, she imagines the life of Shakespeare's fictional sister, Judith. The next day she goes back to the bookshelf to take a look at the history of women's published writing. Again, disappointment. Finally, she picks up a book by a contemporary woman, Mary Carmichael. It's a pretty good book, but not great or anything. The next day, she looks out her window to the streets of London and realizes a true work of genius must unite the male and female sides of the mind.