In ‘A Room of One’s Own’, Woolf explicates the patriarchalsystem which evokes male dominance over women making them inferior in everyaspect. She writes about some real-life encounters of gender discrimination shefaced while exploring her thesis that for a woman to write fiction, she musthave intellectual as well financial freedom. She uses logos, ethos, and pathosto make her argument more appealing to the readers. According to Aristotle, ethos is the most compelling factorout of three mentioned above because it appeals to one’s ethics, morals, andvalues.
Therefore it is important for a writer to establish credibility earlyin the text. She knows that with her chosen approach, she might never reach anyconclusion and she could only justify her opinion instead of telling the truthdue to the sensitivity of the subject. Moreover, she does not claim to writethe truth instead, she says “Lies will flow from my lips” but with some truthmuddled with lies. Thus, it is the responsibility of the reader to judge theveracity of her argument. Sarcastically, she mocks the patriarch presumingearth to be marsh or jungle if so big a power as the man hadn’t ruled on earthfor centuries. It is logical that self-confidence is achieved byconsidering others inferior to us and over the years, women have served asmodels of inferiority which strengthened the superiority of men. If theirsupremacy is questioned by women, they become haughty and disdainful.
Womenwere forced. The theme of rejecting feminism was prevalent under Mussolini andNapoleon’s in which “women were rendered into means of achieving andmaintaining male supremacy” says Sandro Bellassai. This shows how females areunder constant attack from men that it is even difficult for them to say “thisbook is bad”, deprived of freedom of speech. By using highly visual imagery, she makes readers followeach and every thought that emerges in her mind. The burnt bushes she seeswhile sitting on the riverbank symbolizes a woman’s condition in male-dominatedsociety, her dreams, and aspirations crushed down due to restrictions imposedon them. The personified ‘weeping willow’ refers to the silent cries of women sufferingmental strain as they experience inequality on daily basis. She gets so excited while fishing about the idea that shestands up and starts walking on grass.
This excitement comes to an end whenbeadle sends her back to the gravel path because the turf was only for “Fellowsand Scholars”. Another example is when she went to see the manuscript in thelibrary at Oxbridge, the sentinel stopped her from entering since she was notaccompanied by “Fellow of the College”. She forms a deep connection with the readersthat one cannot help but feel sympathy for her. By deploying logos, ethos, and pathos, Woolf is successfulin raising awareness about consequences of patriarchy in which men gets toenjoy privileges that are denied to women.