Self Realization In Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse

2161 words - 9 pages

Self-realization in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse

A Lighthouse is a structure or tower, which emits light in order to guide people, mainly mariners.  Virginia Woolf uses the meaning as a hidden symbol to guide readers to the deep unresolved feelings carried within the novel’s distraught characters.  As the novel progresses, the significance of the Lighthouse’s meaning slowly unravels.  The reader receives an insightful view into Mrs. and Mr. Ramsay’s complex everyday relationship while they raise their eight children and time passes.  Consequently, the reader realizes how important one individual is to the lives of others, or more figuratively how one bright and strong beam of light can guide a fleet to harbor.

       At the beginning of the novel, the path lies on Mrs. Ramsay and her children wanting to go to the Lighthouse.  They find it very exciting and are looking forward to the event.  However, Mr. Ramsay believes the weather will not allow them to go tomorrow nor the next day.  This carries a negative effect on Mr. Ramsay’s character though the rest of the story and these words reflect their consequences, “…it won’t be fine” (p.4).  In reference to their son, James, Mrs. Ramsay believes,  “…he will remember that all his life”(p.62).   This foreshadows what is to come later in the novel, as the children never do forget, and hold a grudge against their father for his past actions.   Likewise, Mr. Ramsay does not forget stopping them from going to the Lighthouse, as this is what is keeping his conscience from being free.

        With each turning of the page, the author invites the reader to open the window into the Ramsay’s intricate lives and relate it to the meaning of the novel as a whole. Virginia Woolf uses her magnificent appeal for meaningful imagery by calling the first part of the novel, “The Window.”   It is here that light is shed on the Ramsay’s ironic relationship and how they impact the people around them. The Ramsay’s marriage, similar to many frustrating marriages, involves the partners not fully revealing how they truly feel about one another.  This can be taken in both the positive and negative contexts.

        In the positive light, the “more than words” notion holds true as the Ramsay’s, through their actions, demonstrate their feelings towards one another.  It is relevant that they both do love each other by the little things they do.  One example of this is that they give in to each other’s wants because they feel guilty by the wrongful things they do to one another.  Mrs. Ramsay, as difficult as it is for her, gives in to her husband’s desires in order to satisfy him by telling him he was right that the weather would indeed stop them from going to the Lighthouse.  In doing this Mr. Ramsay takes it as a sign of her love without literally speaking the words he so desperately wants to hear, “She had not said it: yet he knew” (p.124).

        Despite how depressing and frustrating the...

Find Another Essay On Self-realization in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse

Male and Female Relations in Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse

2918 words - 12 pages in power, Mrs. Ramsey creates a shadow of a self. Woolf says, "Not as oneself did one find rest ever, in her experience. Losing personality, one lost the fret, the furry , the stir" (Lighthouse 63). When alone Mrs. Ramsey must lose her personality because it is a show, a created essence which takes work to maintain. A symbol of this is apparent when Mrs. Ramsey covers the skull in her children's room. She covers the reality with a veil, much

Character of Mr. Ramsay in Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse

807 words - 3 pages The Character of Mr. Ramsay in To The Lighthouse       When reading novels, it is important to understand the aspects of each character to completely get the message that the author is trying to send to the reader.  In the novel, To The Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf illustrates the character, Mr. Ramsay as a husband and a father of eight.  As a husband, he mentally abuses his wife, Mrs. Ramsay, and as a father, Mr. Ramsay discourages and

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

2447 words - 10 pages Lighthouse as an elegy that was not only cathartic but self-aware. Freud’s work during Woolf’s lifetime undoubtedly influenced her understanding of the human psyche, illustrated perhaps most convincingly within the narrative through James’ Oedipal behavior towards his father. But in exploring the role of tradition within To the Lighthouse, other more striking parallels emerge. Freud’s concept of ‘deferred effect’ can be seen within the narrative

Virginia Woolf’s Between the Acts

4847 words - 19 pages Virginia Woolf’s Between the acts Virginia Woolf uses many images in the Between the Acts. Like the other novels I read in the class, the images in the Between the Acts cannot be separated with the story development, and the images themselves construct the story in the book by dismantling the conventional expectation for the novel. However, Woolf uses common and conventional words and images with an experimental way in this novel. This

Evolution of the Modern Woman in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse

1505 words - 6 pages Evolution of the Modern Woman in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse examines the role of women or more specifically, the evolution of the modern woman. The two main female characters in the novel, Mrs Ramsay and Lily Briscoe, both represent different views on life and follow different paths on their search for meaning. Lily Briscoe transcends the traditional female gender roles embodied by Mrs Ramsay; by

In what sense might Virginia Woolf's novel ' To The Lighthouse' be understood as a feminist text?

2659 words - 11 pages In what sense might Virginia Woolf's novel ' To The Lighthouse' be understood as a feminist text?When looking at To The Lighthouse we see the conventional usage of feminism's challenged. Woolf uses many different styles and techniques, and although the term feminist is never used within the novel, it clearly is a feminist text. Woolf's work challenges representation and treatment of women; and the social relationship between men and women, this

Gender Roles and Conflicts Expressed in Virginia Woolf's "To the Lighthouse".

2062 words - 8 pages a woman's place in society?", or "is there a specific place for either?" Furthermore, "is there a genuine difference at all?" One critic explains, "Woolf reaches beyond personal relationships to explore man's wider relation to the Universe" (McNichol 1). In Virginia Woolf's novel, To the Lighthouse, the differences in male and female roles are a reoccurring theme that is ultimately answered by one character in her final days at the Ramsey's

The color imagery in "The Lighthouse" by Virginia Woolf.

554 words - 2 pages How boring this world would be without colors. Colors not only make life more vibrant, but they can also be linked to characteristics and emotions. In Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, color is frequently used to enhance the imagery and to better represent the characters and the overall setting.Woolf uses each color to further implant imagery in the reader's mind. She uses the color grey to represent the elderly and sleepiness when she wrote

Stream Of Consciousness In "To The Lighthouse"

593 words - 2 pages begin to emerge, providing indications of the overriding fears, preoccupations and interests of the character. The ?stream of consciousness? tries to portray the elemental, emotional life, and the hidden psychological life of the character. In To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf develops the ?stream of consciousness? technique as a means of exploring the inner lives of her characters, and she displays life as an aspect and function of the mind.In

Self Realization in Katherine Mansfield's Miss Brill

904 words - 4 pages people's lives by listening "as though she didn't listen" (Mansfield 259) to their conversations and observing their every move. Through these senses, Miss Brill tries to create an alternate reality for herself to relieve her feelings of loneliness; although, she is forced into a self-realization, but remains the same, for the imposter is not who she truly is. The short story gives the reader an everyday experience of Miss Brill's character

To the lighthouse

720 words - 3 pages To the Lighthouse, published in 1927 is one of Virginia Woolf's most successful novels written in a stream of consciousness style. The novel is divided into three parts, which revolve around the members of the Ramsey family and their guests during visits to their summer vacationing residence on the Isle of Skye. The central preoccupation within the novel however is not to be found within the lives of the characters, instead they are seen as

Similar Essays

The Development Of The Artist In Woolf’s To The Lighthouse

2031 words - 8 pages Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse has been described as a Künstlerroman or artist novel. It traces the development of an artist, much like the Bildungsroman traced the development of a child into adulthood (Daughtery 148). The main artist of the novel is Lily Briscoe. As the novel progresses, Lily comes to terms with art and with life. To the Lighthouse is, in many ways, a quest novel (Daughter 148). This is evidenced by the title, which

Reader Response To Woolf’s To The Lighthouse

1510 words - 6 pages Reader Response to Woolf’s To The Lighthouse      There is a saying that the worth of a man’s life is best measured by the degree to which he has if he has touched the lives of others and not by the quantity of worldly possessions that he has acquired.  It is important to keep this in mind when considering Virginia Woolf’s novel, To The Lighthouse.  Throughout the novel, it seems as though the characters, mainly Mr. And Mrs. Ramsay, are

Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse Essay

2062 words - 8 pages crumpling? What makes the accumulated images fold up over the years? How can one smooth out the folds? These are the pivotal questions raised in the above passage, which captures the central exploration in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse.  Change and chaos create folds in Lily's life. She clings to images of Mrs. Ramsay as an iron. "For there are moments when one can neither think nor feel," (Woolf 193), but even in the agony of intense

Analysis Of Similes In Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse

1953 words - 8 pages Analysis of Similes in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse `Thoughts are made of pictures.' Our consciousness may be visualized as a photomontage of simultaneous impressions, mostly visual, according to poet John Ciardi (238). In verbalizing conscious experience, authors tend to use metaphor and simile to create images that, like words, possess both denotation, visual identification, and connotation, an emotional aura (Ciardi 239). In