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The Contrast of Virginia Woolf and Alice Walker

After reading the four essays assigned to this sequence, it becomes interesting to contrast two author’s points of view on the same subject. Reading one professional writer’s rewriting of a portion of another professional writer’s essay brings out many of each of their characteristics and views. Also, the difference in writing styles could be drastic, or slight. Nevertheless, the writers display how versatile the English language can be. Alice Walker was born in 1944 as a farm girl in Georgia. Virginia Woolf was born in London in1882.

They have both come to be highly recognized writers of their time, and they oth have rather large portfolios of work. The scenes the might have grown up seeing and living through may have greatly influenced their views of subjects which they both seem to write about. In her essay “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens,” Alice Walker speaks first about the untouchable faith of the black women of the post-Reconstruction South. She speaks highly of the faith and undying hope of these women and their families.

She even comes to recognize them as saints as she describes their faith as “so intense, deep, unconscious, the they themselves were unaware of the richness they held” (Walker 94). In a passage in which she speaks about the treatment and social status of the women of the sixteenth century, Woolf explains that a woman who might have had a truly great gift in this time “would have surely gone crazy, shot herself, or ended up in some lonely cottage on the outside of town, half witch, half wizard, feared and mocked” (Woolf 749).

Her use of some of these powerful nominative shows that she feels strongly about what she is writing. Also for her, life growing up and stories she may have heard may have influenced this passage greatly. In her passage she imagines hat it may have been like had William Shakespeare had a sister. She notices how difficult it would be even given the same talents as Shakespeare himself, to follow throughout and utilize them in her life. It is clear after reading further into Woolf’s passage that obviously she lived in a different time period, only about fifty years apart though.

The way she relates and tells a very similar story with an entirely different setting shows without the reader even knowing that she was born in London as opposed to Walker who was born in the United States. This is evident in her vocabulary alone. Words such as the verb “agog” or nouns like “stew” or “stockings” are not as culturally accepted and used here in the United States. This plays a key role in the way they use contexts to tell stories and get the morals across. Walker, being born a farm girl in Georgia, uses the context of the racial deep South, and its affects on the lives of black women.

Woolf, who was born in London, uses the context of William Shakespeare most likely because he is a native legend all over the United Kingdom. Also, what is interesting is the similarities of their grammatical writing styles. As Walker describes the women of the post-Reconstruction South, she uses many literary devices. One abnormally short paragraph, “Our mothers and grandmothers, some of them moving to music not yet written. And they waited” (Walker 695), which seems very incorrect as far as grammar is concerned, leaves me as a reader puzzled at why she writes this paragraph so isolated.

It has some meaning to it without a doubt. “Moving to music not yet written” is a powerful way to stress how ahead of their time some of these women were. Although, I do not believe that this is a well-written paragraph, my perspective f grammar is far inferior to the writers so I really cannot judge anything but my opinion. Moreover, at the beginning of her essay, Walker begins with what I would most likely call some sort of a journal entry by a man named Jean Toomer. He describes the attitudes and actions he would witness as he walked through the South in this time.

She builds much of her argument and ideas of the women from many of the statements Toomer makes. Toomer thinks he is realizing the beginning of such strong black spirituality and all the arts which will spawn from it. Walker uses many metaphoric deas such as statements like these, in which she describes the women and their lifestyles: “These crazy Saints stared out at the world, wildly, like lunatics — or quietly, like suicides; and the ‘God’ that was in their gaze was as mute as a great stone” (Walker 695).

She used powerful similes like “mute as a great stone,” or “stared wildly, like lunatics — or quietly, like suicides. ” These characteristics of Walker’s writing can be compared to Woolf’s rewriting of the same idea in “A Room of One’s Own. ” In chapter three of her essay, which is not fully entered into he text, Woolf carries the same principles into her own context and setting. The fictional story of Shakespeare’s sister is interesting, inquisitive, and emotional. The struggles of women of this time are the focus of the story.

In Woolf’s story, it is said that had William Shakespeare had a sister, she perhaps would have been just as gifted, but far from just as accomplished. The struggles she would have been up against would have easily held her down to a point of a depressing stalemate. Woolf’s writing style is similar but also different from that of Walker. She describes the sister as just s imaginative, adventurous, and agog to see the would as her brother was. She has a strong vocabulary and can grip the reader with strong emotions.

Woolf lacks this perfected ability of description the Walker possesses. Alice Walker uses these literary devices ingeniously. Woolf also uses some of what would be called improper writing as she will cut off thoughts and continue them without proper grammar. For example, notice the jump of thoughts in this sentence. “She picked up a book now and then…. But then her parents came in and told her to mind the stew and not moon about ith books and papers. ” (Woolf 749).

This pause of periods cuts the thought off and then picks it up again for no apparent reason I can notice. Another broken sentence such as the following does not hide flaws very well. “What is true…. , so it seemed to me reviewing the story of Shakespeare’s sister as I had made it, is that any woman born with a great gift in the sixteenth century would certainly have gone crazed, shot herself, or ended her days in some lonely cottage outside the village. ” (Woolf 749) This statement also seems to have an unnecessary pause also.

Whether this style that Virginia Woolf uses is correct or not, it is powerful and it pauses the reader and , most importantly, helps the reader think in exactly the same manner as she was when she wrote it. The pauses she experienced in her thoughts when she wrote the story about the story about the writer’s sister are simulated and relived when the reader crosses them. Both writers do a fine job of stressing the morals in their writing. The reader can, in Walker’s essay, put himself in the first person and imagine the South very easily because of how descriptive she is in her narration.

The reader of Woolf’s essay clearly can understand and come to realize the unfairness and downright cruelty of the pure neglect of hidden talent among many women throughout time. She does this through simply telling a good story. This perhaps show that Virginia Woolf may have been fond of Walker’s work. Woolf chooses to clearly state and agree with the same points Walker makes and shows the ideas in a different light because indeed she is a different person with different attributes. This shows up dominantly in her rewriting of Walker’s “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens. “

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