The Disappointment By Virginia Woolf

1885 Words Oct 7th, 2016 8 Pages
Virginia Woolf once wrote that “All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn … for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds” (66). Since then, it seems that the Restoration author has been deemed the one of first true feminists. Many argue that this is apparent both in her being the first woman author to support herself with her writing as well as her critique of gender and their assigned roles within her works. And while Behn has without a doubt inspired countless women to take up the arts in similar ways, regarding her political views, she may not have been the best advocate for all women. Conservative in her views, it is her acceptance of the divine right of kings as well as the superiority of the aristocracy that calls into question if she fits into the label feminist as we give it today. Contrasting Aphra Behn’s poem, “The Disappointment,” against her renowned novel, Oroonoko, reveals the author’s prejudices both in terms of class as well as race, especially in regards to their power. For while the lower-class, English shepherdess represents a character on the cusp of sexual liberation; the virtuous, African noble-woman is often left at the will of the men in her life. The fate of these two women are very much reflective of their status in society. Yet critics have failed to see how Behn links Cloris’ sexuality as well as Imoinda’s oppression are linked to class as well as race. Some such as Gqola, instead, see “a…

More about The Disappointment By Virginia Woolf

Open Document