Three Guineas is an essay written in novel form in which Virginia Woolf suggests what to do with three guineas. With the first guinea, she believes that it should go to the women’s colleges; however, they should be destroyed and then rebuilt after the model of men’s colleges. She tells the man who is asking for this dollar to put a note on it: ‘Take this guinea and with it burn the college to the ground. Set fire to the old hypocrisies” (45). Women need to be educated for peace to reign. The second guinea she states should go to “a society to help the daughters of educated men to obtain employment in the professions” (51). Woolf quotes a Mr. C. E. M. Joad in this chapter. He appears to be the stalwart leader of the he-man-woman-hater’s club, especially being that a woman adds nothing to a conversation unless it’s a little bit of cleverness. So he believes that women cannot be astute, just witty. He believes that women should quit prying and putting in their two-cents into public affairs and return to the household duties (53). The third guinea she freely gives to the person who sent her the request for a guinea, and that person requested it to protect culture and intellectual liberty.
While eating breakfast this morning, I read an online article by Katherine Marshall in The Huffington Post entitled “Where Are Women’s Voices for Peace? A Conversation with Sister Joan Chittister.” It was interesting that an article written about 70 years after Three Guineas still questions where women’s voices are in peace. Sister Joan believes that until women quit being a token member of any movement or institution that there will never be peace. It’s pathetic that after 70 years from Woolf’s writing to now that women still don’t have equal influence upon society. Sister Joan’s ideas appear to be an echo of Three Guineas.
Concerning “Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid,” I wondered if it was plea for Americans to join the war because at the time that this was written, America was still wearing blinders and playing tiddlywinks at home, or is she admonishing Americans to take all her suggestions and make them “into something serviceable” and embrace peace? Even in her essays, Woolf has the ability to create a vast array of images in my head. One can see the search-lights flittering back and forth in the night’s sky, or hornets the size of planes flying over the home. She talks how we are prisoners and enslaved. That men should be freed from these ideas of war by searching for more honorable activities and access their creative feelings. I suppose if you create, you are less likely to destroy. But the irony is that if they save the Englishmen, the Germans and Italian men will still be enslaved. There was a line that gave me chills, “Let us try to drag up into consciousness the subconscious Hitlerism that holds us down” (2). I wondered what she specifically meant by this statement. The basis of the articles and books were addressing how women can assist in keeping peace.
I enjoyed reading Leonard Woolf’s article “Fear and Politics at the Zoo.” It didn’t have the anger in it that the two aforementioned works of V. Woolf did. He seasoned his article with more humor.
Marshall, Katherine. “Where Are Women’s Voices for Peace? A conversation with Sister Joan Chittister.” The Huffington Post. 13 November 2010. Web. 13 November 2010.
Woolf, Virginia. “Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid.” eBooks@Adelaide. 26 July 2010. Web. 11 November 2010.
Woolf, Virginia. Three Guineas. 1938. Ed. Mark Hussey. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt, Inc., 2006. Print.