Study Guide

A Room of One's Own Wealth (and Poverty)

By Virginia Woolf

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Wealth (and Poverty)

We can't say whether Woolf would have liked the Wu-Tang Clan, but she'd certainly agree that "Cash Rules Everything Around Me (C.R.E.A.M.!)." In A Room Of One's Own, the best tool for creating women writers, and for fostering women's independence in general, is money. Not only does it give a woman the free time she needs to write, it also makes it so she doesn't have to suck up to anyone else (mostly men) in order to earn her living. That means she's free to form her own opinions. And that means she'll be able to write what she wants to without anyone else's influence.

Questions About Wealth (and Poverty)

  1. Woolf is always hammering home how important material things like food and money are to making good art. Does her own writing reflect this? Does her prose reflect this? How, or how not?
  2. Mary inherited her money, but she tells the women in the audience to "earn five hundred a year by your wits" (4.21). Why isn't she arguing that female writers all receive a stipend? How are women supposed to earn this money?
  3. Mary talks a lot about inheritance: her own, how women like Mary Seton's mother never bothered to make enough money to hand down to her daughters. Can you inherit things other than money? If so, does that figure into Woolf's argument?

Chew on This

For Woolf, it's more important that a woman can make money from her writing than that her writing be any good.

While Woolf ends on a hopeful note, she mainly writes about how hard it has been and will be in the future for women to write good books.

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