Childhood Tribulation In Virginia Woolf’s Novel: To The Lighthouse

713 words - 3 pages

In Virginia Woolf’s novel, To the Lighthouse, childhood is portrayed as a time of tribulation and terror, rather than the stereotype that claims that childhood is a blissful period of innocence and wonder. Because of her more realistic point of view, Woolf molds her characters into complex adults that are products of their upbringings. This contributes to the piece as a whole because it has a sense of reality that allows readers to relate with the characters on a personal level. Throughout the novel, Woolf uses two main characters to embody her representation of childhood. Even though Charles Tansley is an adult, the reader can see the full effects his childhood had on his adult life. Moreover, the reader sees the troubling events of childhood and their effects on adulthood in James Ramsay’s life.
Within the first couple chapters the reader is able to learn valuable information about Charles Tansley that explains his character as an adult. While he and Mrs. Ramsay venture into town he discloses that he grew up in an impoverished family. He goes on to explain that he was never able to experience the circus as a young boy so the thought of it brings him painful memories. Although not going to the circus would be a hefty disappointment for a child, the lasting pain that Tansley feels from the rejection is the saddest part. That small amount of rejection that Tansley felt as a child grew into so much more as time went on and evolved into other emotions such as resentment, anger, and bitterness. Once Mrs. Ramsay questioned her husband as to why Tansley dwelled on his dissertation, and he replied with, “Well, it’s all he has to count on.” By this, Mr. Ramsay did not mean that his dissertation was reliable. Truly, he meant that it was all he had, and it now consumed Tansley in every way.
Furthermore, James Ramsey is a character that plays a large part in the representation of childhood. At first glance, James seems to live an average life with a gentle mother and stern father. In a perfect world, the delicacy of Mrs. Ramsay would be able to...

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