Alas, I start my last post of this semester. When I am done writing it, I shall “roll up the crumpled skin of the day”, as Woolf writes at the end of part One of A Room of One’s Own. I shall roll it up, cast it aside, and start reading The Hunger Games trilogy, which has been tempting me all semester. Would I really be casting it aside, though? The trilogy is written by Suzanne Collins, a female author, as are two of the other most popular book series in the last decade, Harry Potter and Twilight. What would Virginia Woolf think about this kind of success? Certainly, these series are tailored more for the youthful reader, but they seem to transcend their intended market and reach the adult community as well; not only the adult community, but it permeates the bubble that non-readers live in, and makes readers out of a lot of them. What would Lorde say about that statement? Are these authors breaking down boundaries by using the master’s tools? Or are they forging new tools in their fight against their foes. Or is it really just silly to even consider Woolf and Lorde when we’re talking about magic, vampires, and the 21st Century redux of The Running Man?
Of course is it. Woolf would probably simply compare these current authors with the Mary Carmichael, whose less-than-stellar work she discusses in A Room of One’s Own. Lorde may appropriately point out that these books and these women authors have nothing to do with the more serious topic of racist feminism. Therefore I shall abandon discussion of these three series for now.
Lorde’s article about the Master’s Tools is quite interesting; I agree with a lot of what she says, though my opinion may waver on some of the topic. I feel her point about not being able to bring about ‘genuine change’ when still using the master’s tools is too severe. I draw on the Bluestockings for this opinion. The women of the Bluestocking society worked within their social boundaries (with the ‘master’s tools) to help bring about major change, change still being discussed today. I feel that the only tools that the repressed have access to are those tools of the ‘masters’; I can’t see a way to forge and use new tools unless the master turns into a peer and accepts that these are, in fact, new tools. I think what I’m saying may be too abstract, but overall, I feel that the only way to foster change is to convince the ‘masters’ that the change benefits them too. Though there are revolutionaries that have changed the world by straying outside the norm, there are also pioneers and freedom fighters who make the same advances by using the system to their advantage. Therefore, I feel that it isn’t all just one way or another. In the end though, a perfect world wouldn’t need equality, because people would never have been more or less than anybody else. That perfect world is unfortunately not a reality, so any tools that those striving for equality can get their hands on, feel free to use them.
So, after that vague little rant, how can I apply all of this to the works we read this semester? “The Wife’s Lament” may have been out-of-the-box for the time, expressing a woman’s feelings of her marital status in a world that is not used to hearing that opinion. As far as I can see, however, it’s using the ‘master’s tools’ with its verse and its structure, and there are questions as to whether it was even written by a women. Askew’s preaching was revolutionary for the time, but she was still using the male preacher’s pulpit (if the Tudors clip is accurate). Behn’s writing was entertaining and scandalous too, but what was she saying about women at the time? Was it commentary on women or was it commentary on men? Either way, she was using the tool of the play, which was not something history says was created by a woman. All in all, I think that the master’s tools can be reclaimed, and reshaped, to be used to dismantle his house. And it is a house that needs to be dismantled; it’s built on shaky ground, has poor support, and is not up to code, even still today.
On that note, I shall depart; teens killing teens for survival, in fictional form, is awaiting me. If I want the real version, I can sadly just turn on the news. The real version is yet another of the master’s tools that needs to be reclaimed and reworked. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWqx5viZ1J8)
This class has been very interesting. I know sometimes it seems that I didn’t enjoy what I read, or felt it was a waste of my time, but I really never ever meant for it to seem that way. If I didn’t like what I read, I at least appreciated it for its context; I did enjoy most of it though. I really like Cavendish and I really really like Behn, and I think I would read them on my own time, no syllabus needed. This semester has finally brought Virginia Woolf into my life too; I read A Room Of One’s Own today, for the second time this semester, so I could prepare for this blog entry. The second time, I’ll happily say, was SO much better than the first. If you, who are reading this blog, haven’t read it yet, please take the time. The way Woolf writes is so smart, to begin with, but what she says is educational, thought-provoking, and important.
Until next we blog!