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A Room of One's Own

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.