Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor's Name

Michael Patrick Gillespie

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Nathaniel Cadle

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Maneck H. Daruwala

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


English, Literature, Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, Between the Acts, A Room of One's Own

Date of Defense



This thesis examines different facets of feminine artistry in Virginia Woolf's novels with the purpose of defining her conception of women artists and the role sacrifice plays in it. The project follows characters in "Mrs. Dalloway," "To the Lighthouse," and "Between the Acts" as they attempt to create art despite society's restrictions; it studies the suffering these women experience under regimented institutions and arbitrary gender roles.

From Woolf’s earlier texts to her last, she embraces the uncertainty of identity, even as she portrays the artist’s sacrifice in the early-to-mid twentieth century, specifically as the creative female identity fights to adapt to male-dominated spaces. Through a close-reading approach coupled with biographical and historical research, this thesis concludes that although the narratives of Woolf's novels demand the woman artist sacrifice for the sake of pursuing creation, Woolf praises the attempt and considers it a crueler fate to live with unfulfilled potential.





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