To the Lighthouse

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To the Lighthouse (5 May 1927) is a novel by Virginia Woolf. A landmark novel of high modernism, he e! , "hi#h #en res on he $amsays and heir visi s o he %sle of &kye in &#o land be "een 191' and 192', skilf(lly mani)(la es em)oral and )sy#hologi#al elemen s. To the Lighthouse follo"s and e! ends he radi ion of modernis novelis s like Mar#el *ro(s and+ames +oy#e, "here he )lo is se#ondary o )hiloso)hi#al in ros)e# ion, and he )rose #an be "inding and hard o follo". ,he novel in#l(des li le dialog(e and almos no a# ion- mos of i is "ri en as ho(gh s and observa ions. ,he novel re#alls #hildhood emo ions and highligh s ad(l rela ionshi)s. Among he book.s many ro)es and hemes are hose of loss, s(b/e# ivi y, and he )roblem of )er#e) ion. %n 1990, he Modern 1ibrary named To the Lighthouse 2o. 15 on i s lis of he 1'' bes 3nglish4 lang(age novels of he 2' h #en (ry.516 %n 2''5, he novel "as #hosen by TIME maga7ine as one of he one h(ndred bes 3nglish4lang(age novels from 1928 o )resen . 5

Key Facts
FULL TITLE 9 To the Lighthouse AUTHOR 9 Virginia Woolf TYPE OF WORK 9 2ovel GENRE 9 & ream of #ons#io(sness LANGUAGE 9 3nglish

192:, 1ondon DATE OF FIRST PUBLICATION 9 1927
TIME AND PLACE WRITTEN 9 PUBLISHER 9 ;ogar h *ress NARRATOR 9 ,he narra or is anonymo(s. POINT OF VIEW 9 ,he narra or s)eaks in he hird )erson and des#ribes he #hara# ers and a# ions

s(b/e# ively, giving (s insigh in o he #hara# ers< feelings. ,he narra ive s"i #hes #ons an ly from he )er#e) ions of one #hara# er o hose of he ne! . TONE 9 3legia#, )oe i#, rhy hmi#, imagina ive TENSE 9 *as SETTING (TIME) 9 ,he years immedia ely )re#eding and follo"ing World War % SETTING (PLACE) 9 ,he %sle of &kye, in he ;ebrides (a gro() of islands "es of &#o land) PROTAGONIST 9 Al ho(gh Mrs. $amsay is he #en ral fo#(s of he beginning ofTo the Lighthouse, he novel ra#es he develo)men of 1ily =ris#oe o he end, making i more a##(ra e o des#ribe 1ily as he )ro agonis . MA OR CONFLICT 9 ,he #ommon s r(ggle ha ea#h of he #hara# ers fa#es is o bring meaning and order o he #haos of life.
RISING ACTION 9 +ames<s desire o /o(rney o he ligh ho(se- Mr. $amsay<s need o ask Mrs. $amsay for

sym)a hy- >harles ,ansley<s insis en#e ha "omen #anno )ain or "ri e- 1ily =ris#oe<s s alled a em) a her )ain ing CLIMA! 9 Mrs. $amsay<s dinner )ar y

FALLING ACTION 9 Mr. $amsay<s ri) o he ligh ho(se "i h >am and +ames- 1ily =ris#oe<s #om)le ion of

her )ain ing THEMES 9 ,he ransien#e of life and "ork- ar as a means of )reserva ion- he s(b/e# ive na (re of reali yhe res ora ive effe# s of bea( y
MOTIFS 9 ,he differing behaviors of men and "omen- bra#ke s SYMBOLS 9 ,he ligh ho(se, 1ily<s )ain ing, he $amsays< ho(se, he sea, he boar<s sk(ll, he fr(i baske FORESHADOWING 9 +ames<s ini ial desire and an!ie y s(rro(nding he voyage o he ligh ho(se

foreshado"s he ri) he makes a de#ade la er.

P"#t O$e%$&e'
Note: To the Lighthouse is divided into three sections: “The Window,” “Time Passes,” and “The Lighthouse.” Each section is fragmented into stream of consciousness contri!utions from various narrators. ?,he Windo"@ o)ens /(s before he s ar of World War %. Mr. $amsay and Mrs. $amsay bring heir eigh #hildren o heir s(mmer home in he ;ebrides (a gro() of islands "es of &#o land). A#ross he bay from heir ho(se s ands a large ligh ho(se. &i!4year4old +ames $amsay "an s des)era ely o go o he ligh ho(se, and Mrs. $amsay ells him ha hey "ill go he ne! day if he "ea her )ermi s. +ames rea# s gleef(lly, b( Mr. $amsay ells him #oldly ha he "ea her looks o be fo(l. +ames resen s his fa her and believes ha he en/oys being #r(el o +ames and his siblings. ,he $amsays hos a n(mber of g(es s, in#l(ding he do(r >harles ,ansley, "ho admires Mr. $amsay<s "ork as a me a)hysi#al )hiloso)her. Also a he ho(se is 1ily =ris#oe, a yo(ng )ain er "ho begins a )or rai of Mrs. $amsay. Mrs. $amsay "an s 1ily o marry William =ankes, an old friend of he $amsays, b( 1ily resolves o remain single. Mrs. $amsay does manage o arrange ano her marriage, ho"ever, be "een *a(l $ayley and Min a Aoyle, "o of heir a#B(ain an#es. A(ring he #o(rse of he af ernoon, *a(l )ro)oses o Min a, 1ily begins her )ain ing, Mrs. $amsay soo hes he resen f(l +ames, and Mr. $amsay fre s over his shor #omings as a )hiloso)her, )eriodi#ally (rning o Mrs. $amsay for #omfor . ,ha evening, he $amsays hos a seemingly ill4fa ed dinner )ar y. *a(l and Min a are la e re (rning from heir "alk on he bea#h "i h "o of he $amsays< #hildren. 1ily bris les a o( s)oken #ommen s made by >harles ,ansley, "ho s(gges s ha "omen #an nei her )ain nor "ri e. Mr. $amsay rea# s r(dely "hen A(g(s (s >armi#hael, a )oe , asks for a se#ond )la e of so(). As he nigh dra"s on, ho"ever, hese miss e)s righ hemselves, and he g(es s #ome oge her o make a memorable evening. ,he /oy, ho"ever, like he )ar y i self, #anno las , and as Mrs. $amsay leaves her g(es s in he dining room, she refle# s ha he even has already sli))ed in o he )as . 1a er, she /oins her h(sband in he )arlor. ,he #o()le si s B(ie ly oge her, (n il Mr. $amsay<s #hara# eris i# inse#(ri ies in err() heir )ea#e. ;e "an s his "ife o ell him ha she loves him. Mrs. $amsay is no one o make s(#h )rono(n#emen s, b( she #on#edes o his )oin made earlier in he day ha he "ea her "ill be oo ro(gh for a ri) o he ligh ho(se he ne! day. Mr. $amsay h(s kno"s ha Mrs. $amsay loves him. 2igh falls, and one nigh B(i#kly be#omes ano her. ,ime )asses more B(i#kly as he novel en ers he ?,ime *asses@ segmen . War breaks o( a#ross 3(ro)e. Mrs. $amsay dies s(ddenly one nigh . Andre" $amsay, her oldes son, is killed in ba le, and his sis er *r(e dies from an illness rela ed o #hildbir h. ,he family no longer va#a ions a i s s(mmerho(se, "hi#h falls in o a s a e of disre)airC "eeds ake over he garden and s)iders nes in he ho(se. ,en years )ass before he family re (rns. Mrs. M#2ab, he ho(sekee)er, em)loys a fe" o her "omen o hel) se he ho(se in order. ,hey res#(e he ho(se from oblivion and de#ay, and every hing is in order "hen 1ily =ris#oe re (rns.

%n ?,he 1igh ho(se@ se# ion, ime re (rns o he slo" de ail of shif ing )oin s of vie", similar in s yle o ?,he Windo".@ Mr. $amsay de#lares ha he and +ames and >am, one of his da(gh ers, "ill /o(rney o he ligh ho(se. Dn he morning of he voyage, delays hro" him in o a fi of em)er. ;e a))eals o 1ily for sym)a hy, b( , (nlike Mrs. $amsay, she is (nable o )rovide him "i h "ha he needs. ,he $amsays se off, and 1ily akes her )la#e on he la"n, de ermined o #om)le e a )ain ing she s ar ed b( abandoned on her las visi . +ames and >am bris le a heir fa her<s bl(s ery behavior and are embarrassed by his #ons an self4)i y. & ill, as he boa rea#hes i s des ina ion, he #hildren feel a fondness for him. 3ven +ames, "hose skill as a sailor Mr. $amsay )raises, e!)erien#es a momen of #onne# ion "i h his fa her, ho(gh +ames so "illf(lly resen s him. A#ross he bay, 1ily )( s he finishing o(#h on her )ain ing. &he makes a defini ive s roke on he #anvas and )( s her br(sh do"n, finally having a#hieved her vision.

C(a%acte% L&st
M%s) Ra*say 4 Mr. $amsay<s "ife. A bea( if(l and loving "oman, Mrs. $amsay is a "onderf(l hos ess "ho akes )ride in making memorable e!)erien#es for he g(es s a he family<s s(mmer home on he %sle of &kye. Affirming radi ional gender roles "holehear edly, she lavishes )ar i#(lar a en ion on her male g(es s, "ho she believes have deli#a e egos and need #ons an s())or and sym)a hy. &he is a d( if(l and loving "ife b( of en s r(ggles "i h her h(sband<s diffi#(l moods and selfishness. Wi ho( fail, ho"ever, she ri(m)hs hro(gh hese diffi#(l imes and demons ra es an abili y o make some hing signifi#an and las ing from he mos e)hemeral of #ir#(ms an#es, s(#h as a dinner )ar y. $ead an in4de) h analysis of Mrs. $amsay. M%) Ra*say 4 Mrs. $amsay<s h(sband, and a )rominen me a)hysi#al )hiloso)her. Mr. $amsay loves his family b( of en a# s like some hing of a yran . ;e ends o be selfish and harsh d(e o his )ersis en )ersonal and )rofessional an!ie ies. ;e fears, more han any hing, ha his "ork is insignifi#an in he grand s#heme of hings and ha he "ill no be remembered by f( (re genera ions. Well a"are of ho" blessed he is o have s(#h a "onderf(l family, he never heless ends o )(nish his "ife, #hildren, and g(es s by demanding heir #ons an sym)a hy, a en ion, and s())or . $ead an in4de) h analysis of Mr. $amsay. L&"y B%&sc#e 4 A yo(ng, single )ain er "ho befriends he $amsays on he %sle of &kye. 1ike Mr. $amsay, 1ily is )lag(ed by fears ha her "ork la#ks "or h. &he begins a )or rai of Mrs. $amsay a he beginning of he novel b( has ro(ble finishing i . ,he o)inions of men like >harles ,ansley, "ho insis s ha "omen #anno )ain or "ri e, hrea en o (ndermine her #onfiden#e. $ead an in4de) h analysis of 1ily =ris#oe. a*es Ra*say 4 ,he $amsays< yo(nges son. +ames loves his mo her dee)ly and feels a m(rdero(s an i)a hy o"ard his fa her, "i h "hom he m(s #om)e e for Mrs. $amsay<s love and affe# ion. A he beginning of he novel, Mr. $amsay ref(ses he si!4year4old +ames<s reB(es o go o he ligh ho(se, saying ha he "ea her "ill be fo(l and no )ermi i - en years la er, +ames finally makes he /o(rney "i h his fa her and his sis er >am. =y his ime, he has gro"n in o a "illf(l and moody yo(ng man "ho has m(#h in #ommon "i h his fa her, "hom he de es s. $ead an in4de) h analysis of +ames $amsay. Pa+" Ray"ey 4 A yo(ng friend of he $amsays "ho visi s hem on he %sle of &kye. *a(l is a kind, im)ressionable yo(ng man "ho follo"s Mrs. $amsay<s "ishes in marrying Min a Aoyle. M&,ta D#y"e 4 A fligh y yo(ng "oman "ho visi s he $amsays on he %sle of &kye. Min a marries *a(l $ayley a Mrs. $amsay<s "ishes. C(a%"es Ta,s"ey 4 A yo(ng )hiloso)her and )()il of Mr. $amsay "ho s ays "i h he $amsays on he %sle of &kye. ,ansley is a )ri#kly and (n)leasan man "ho harbors dee) inse#(ri ies regarding his h(mble ba#kgro(nd. ;e of en ins(l s o her )eo)le, )ar i#(larly "omen s(#h as 1ily, "hose alen and

a##om)lishmen s he #ons an ly #alls in o B(es ion. ;is bad behavior, like Mr. $amsay<s, is mo iva ed by his need for reass(ran#e. W&""&a* Ba,-es 4 A bo anis and old friend of he $amsays "ho s ays on he %sle of &kye. =ankes is a kind and mello" man "hom Mrs. $amsay ho)es "ill marry 1ily =ris#oe. Al ho(gh he never marries her, =ankes and 1ily remain #lose friends. A+.+st+s Ca%*&c(ae" 4 An o)i(m4(sing )oe "ho visi s he $amsays on he %sle of &kye. >armi#hael lang(ishes in li erary obs#(ri y (n il his verse be#omes )o)(lar d(ring he "ar. A,/%e' Ra*say 4 ,he oldes of he $amsays< sons. Andre" is a #om)e en , inde)enden yo(ng man, and he looks for"ard o a #areer as a ma hema i#ian. as0e% Ra*say 4 Dne of he $amsays< sons. +as)er, o his mo her<s #hagrin, en/oys shoo ing birds. R#.e% Ra*say 4 Dne of he $amsays< sons. $oger is "ild and adven (ro(s, like his sis er 2an#y. P%+e Ra*say 4 ,he oldes $amsay girl, a bea( if(l yo(ng "oman. Mrs. $amsay deligh s in #on em)la ing *r(e<s marriage, "hi#h she believes "ill be blissf(l. R#se Ra*say 4 Dne of he $amsays< da(gh ers. $ose has a alen for making hings bea( if(l. &he arranges he fr(i for her mo her<s dinner )ar y and )i#ks o( her mo her<s /e"elry. Na,cy Ra*say 4 Dne of he $amsays< da(gh ers. 2an#y a##om)anies *a(l $ayley and Min a Aoyle on heir ri) o he bea#h. 1ike her bro her $oger, she is a "ild adven (rer. Ca* Ra*say 4 Dne of he $amsays< da(gh ers. As a yo(ng girl, >am is mis#hievo(s. &he sails "i h +ames and Mr. $amsay o he ligh ho(se in he novel<s final se# ion. M%s) McNa1 4 An elderly "oman "ho akes #are of he $amsays< ho(se on he %sle of &kye, res oring i af er en years of abandonmen d(ring and af er World War %. Maca"&ste% 4 ,he fisherman "ho a##om)anies he $amsays o he ligh ho(se. Ma#alis er rela es s ories of shi)"re#k and mari ime adven (re o Mr. $amsay and #om)limen s +ames on his handling of he boa "hile +ames lands i a he ligh ho(se. Maca"&ste%2s 1#y 4 ,he fisherman<s boy. ;e ro"s +ames, >am, and Mr. $amsay o he ligh ho(se.

A,a"ys&s #3 Ma4#% C(a%acte%s
M%s) Ra*say Mrs. $amsay emerges from he novel<s o)ening )ages no only as a "oman of grea kindness and oleran#e b( also as a )ro e# or. %ndeed, her )rimary goal is o )reserve her yo(nges son +ames<s sense of ho)e and "onder s(rro(nding he ligh ho(se. ,ho(gh she reali7es (as +ames himself does) ha Mr. $amsay is #orre# in de#laring ha fo(l "ea her "ill r(in he ne! day<s voyage, she )ersis s in ass(ring +ames ha he ri) is a )ossibili y. &he does so no o raise e!)e# a ions ha "ill inevi ably be dashed, b( ra her be#a(se she reali7es ha he bea( ies and )leas(res of his "orld are e)hemeral and sho(ld be )reserved, )ro e# ed, and #(l iva ed as m(#h as )ossible. &o dee) is his #ommi men ha she behaves similarly o ea#h of her g(es s, even hose "ho do no deserve or a))re#ia e her kindness. =efore heading in o o"n, for e!am)le, she insis s on asking A(g(s (s >armi#hael, "hom she senses does no like her, if she #an bring him any hing o make his s ay more #omfor able. &imilarly, she olera es he ins(fferable behavior of >harles ,ansley, "hose bi er a i (de and a"k"ard manners hrea en o (ndo he deli#a e "ork she has done o"ard making a )leasan and invi ing home. As 1ily =ris#oe no es in he novel<s final se# ion, Mrs. $amsay feels he need o )lay his role )rimarily in he #om)any of men. %ndeed, Mrs. $amsay feels obliged o )ro e# he en ire o))osi e se!. A##ording o her, men sho(lder he b(rden of r(ling #o(n ries and managing e#onomies. ,heir im)or an "ork, she believes, leaves hem v(lnerable and in need of #ons an reass(ran#e, a servi#e ha "omen #an and sho(ld )rovide. Al ho(gh his dynami# fi s sB(arely in o radi ional gender bo(ndaries, i is im)or an o no e he s reng h ha

Mrs. $amsay feels. A several )oin s, she is a"are of her o"n )o"er, and her )os (re is far from ha of a s(bmissive "oman. A he same ime, in er/e# ions of domes i#a ed an!ie y, s(#h as her refrain of ? he bill for he greenho(se "o(ld be fif y )o(nds,@ (nder#( his )o"er. El ima ely, as is eviden from her mee ing "i h Mr. $amsay a he #lose of ?,he Windo",@ Mrs. $amsay never #om)romises herself. ;ere, she is ableFmas erf(llyF o sa isfy her h(sband<s desire for her o ell him she loves him "i ho( saying he "ords she finds so diffi#(l o say. ,his s#ene dis)lays Mrs. $amsay<s abili y o bring oge her dis)ara e hings in o a "hole. %n a "orld marked by he ravages of ime and "ar, in "hi#h every hing m(s and "ill fall a)ar , here is )erha)s no grea er gif han a sense of (ni y, even if i is only em)orary. 1ily and o her #hara# ers find hemselves gras)ing for his (ni y af er Mrs. $amsay<s dea h. M%) Ra*say Mr. $amsay s ands, in many res)e# s, as Mrs. $amsay<s o))osi e. Whereas she a# s )a ien ly, kindly, and di)loma i#ally o"ard o hers, he ends o be shor 4 em)ered, selfish, and r(de. Woolf fi ingly des#ribes him as ?lean as a knife, narro" as he blade of one,@ "hi#h #on/(res bo h his )hysi#al )resen#e and s(gges s he shar)ness (and violen#e) of his )ersonali y. An a##om)lished me a)hysi#ian "ho made an inval(able #on rib( ion o his field as a yo(ng man, Mr. $amsay bears o( his "ife<s )hiloso)hy regarding genderC men, b(rdened by he im)or an#e of heir o"n "ork, need o seek o( he #omfor s and ass(ran#es of "omen. ,hro(gho( he novel, Mr. $amsay im)lores his "ife and even his g(es s for sym)a hy. Mr. $amsay is (n#er ain abo( he fa e of his "ork and i s lega#y, and his inse#(ri y manifes s i self ei her as a "ea)on or a "eakness. ;is keen a"areness of dea h<s inevi abili y mo iva es him o dash he ho)es of yo(ng +ames and o b(lly Mrs. $amsay in o de#laring her love for him. ,his hy)era"areness also for#es him o #onfron his o"n mor ali y and fa#e he )ossibili y ha he, like he forgo en books and )la es ha li er he se#ond )ar of he novel, migh sink in o oblivion. L&"y B%&sc#e 1ily is a )assiona e ar is , and, like Mr. $amsay, she "orries over he fa e of her "ork, fearing ha her )ain ings "ill be h(ng in a i#s or ossed absen mindedly (nder a #o(#h. >onven ional feminini y, re)resen ed by Mrs. $amsay in he form of marriage and family, #onfo(nds 1ily, and she re/e# s i . ,he re#(rring memory of >harles ,ansley insis ing ha "omen #an nei her )ain nor "ri e dee)ens her an!ie y. % is "i h hese self4do(b s ha she begins her )or rai of Mrs. $amsay a he beginning of he novel, a )or rai riddled "i h )roblems ha she is (nable o solve. =( 1ily (ndergoes a dras i# ransforma ion over he #o(rse of he novel, evolving from a "oman "ho #anno make sense of he sha)es and #olors ha she ries o re)rod(#e in o an ar is "ho a#hieves her vision and, more im)or an , over#omes he an!ie ies ha have ke) her from i . =y he end of he novel, 1ily, a serio(s and diligen "orker, )( s in o )ra# i#e all ha she has learned from Mrs. $amsay. M(#h like he "oman she so grea ly admires, she is able o #raf some hing bea( if(l and las ing from he e)hemeral ma erials aro(nd herF he #hanging ligh , he vie" of he bay. ;er ar is i# a#hievemen s(gges s a larger sense of #om)le eness in ha she finally feels (ni ed "i h Mr. $amsay and he ra ional, in elle# (al s)here ha he re)resen s. a*es Ra*say A sensi ive #hild, +ames is gri))ed by a love for his mo her ha is as over)o"ering and #om)le e as his ha red for his fa her. ;e feels a m(rdero(s rage agains Mr. $amsay, "ho, he believes, deligh s in delivering he ne"s ha here "ill be no ri) o he ligh ho(se. =( +ames gro"s in o a yo(ng man "ho shares many of his fa her<s #hara# eris i#s, he same ones ha in#i ed s(#h anger in him as a #hild. When he even (ally sails o he ligh ho(se "i h his fa her, +ames, like Mr. $amsay, is "i hdra"n, moody, and easily offended. ;is need o be )raised, as no ed by his sis er >am, mirrors his fa her<s in#essan need for sym)a hy,

reass(ran#e, and love. %ndeed, as hey a))roa#h he ligh ho(se, +ames #onsiders his fa her<s )rofile and re#ogni7es he )rofo(nd loneliness ha s am)s bo h of heir )ersonali ies. =y he ime he boa lands, +ames<s a i (de o"ard his fa her has #hanged #onsiderably. As he sof ens o"ard Mr. $amsay and #omes o a##e) him as he is, +ames, like 1ily, "ho finishes her )ain ing on shore a ha very momen , a#hieves a rare, flee ing momen in "hi#h he "orld seems blissf(lly "hole and #om)le e.

T(e*es5 M#t&3s 6 Sy*1#"s
T(e*es Themes are the fundamenta" and often universa" ideas e#$"ored in a "iterar% wor&. The Transience of Life and Work Mr. $amsay and Mrs. $amsay ake #om)le ely differen a))roa#hes o lifeC he relies on his in elle# , "hile she de)ends on her emo ions. =( hey share he kno"ledge ha he "orld aro(nd hem is ransien F ha no hing las s forever. Mr. $amsay refle# s ha even he mos end(ring of re)( a ions, s(#h as &hakes)eare<s, are doomed o even (al oblivion. ,his reali7a ion a##o(n s for he bi er as)e# of his #hara# er. Gr(s ra ed by he inevi able demise of his o"n body of "ork and envio(s of he fe" geni(ses "ho "ill o( las him, he )lo s o fo(nd a s#hool of )hiloso)hy ha arg(es ha he "orld is designed for he average, (nadorned man, for he ?lif man in he ,(be@ ra her han for he rare immor al "ri er. Mrs. $amsay is as keenly a"are as her h(sband of he )assage of ime and of mor ali y. &he re#oils, for ins an#e, a he no ion of +ames gro"ing in o an ad(l , regis ers he "orld<s many dangers, and kno"s ha no one, no even her h(sband, #an )ro e# her from hem. ;er rea# ion o his kno"ledge is markedly differen from her h(sband<s. Whereas Mr. $amsay is bo"ed by he "eigh of his o"n demise, Mrs. $amsay is f(eled "i h he need o make )re#io(s and memorable "ha ever ime she has on ear h. &(#h #raf ed momen s, she refle# s, offer he only ho)e of some hing ha end(res. Art as a Means of Preservation %n he fa#e of an e!is en#e ha is inheren ly "i ho( order or meaning, Mr. and Mrs. $amsay em)loy differen s ra egies for making heir lives signifi#an . Mr. $amsay devo es himself o his )rogression hro(gh he #o(rse of h(man ho(gh , "hile Mrs. $amsay #(l iva es memorable e!)erien#es from so#ial in era# ions. 2ei her of hese s ra egies, ho"ever, )roves an adeB(a e means of )reserving one<s e!)erien#e. Af er all, Mr. $amsay fails o ob ain he )hiloso)hi#al (nders anding he so des)era ely desires, and Mrs. 4$amsay<s life, ho(gh filled "i h momen s ha have he shine and resilien#e of r(bies, ends. Dnly 1ily =ris#oe finds a "ay o )reserve her e!)erien#e, and ha "ay is hro(gh her ar . As 1ily begins her )or rai of Mrs. $amsay a he beginning of he novel, Woolf no es he s#o)e of he )ro/e# C 1ily means o order and #onne# elemen s ha have no ne#essary rela ion in he "orldF?hedges and ho(ses and mo hers and #hildren.@ =y he end of he novel, en years la er, 1ily finishes he )ain ing she s ar ed, "hi#h s ands as a momen of #lari y "res ed from #onf(sion. Ar is, )erha)s, he only ho)e of s(re y in a "orld des ined and de ermined o #hangeC for, "hile mo(rning Mrs. $amsay<s dea h and )ain ing on he la"n, 1ily refle# s ha ?no hing s ays, all #hanges- b( no "ords, no )ain .@ The Subjective Nature of Reality ,o"ard he end of he novel, 1ily refle# s ha in order o see Mrs. $amsay #learlyF o (nders and her #hara# er #om)le elyFshe "o(ld need a leas fif y )airs of eyes- only hen "o(ld she be )rivy o every )ossible angle and n(an#e. ,he r( h, a##ording o his asser ion, res s in he a##(m(la ion of differen , even o))osing van age )oin s. Woolf<s e#hniB(e in s r(# (ring he s ory mirrors 1ily<s asser ion. &he is #ommi ed o #rea ing a sense of he "orld ha no only de)ends ()on he )riva e )er#e) ions of her #hara# ers b( is

also nothing more than he a##(m(la ion of hose )er#e) ions. ,o ry o reimagine he s ory as old from a single #hara# er<s )ers)e# ive orFin he radi ion of he Vi# orian novelis sFfrom he a( hor<s )ers)e# ive is o reali7e he radi#al s#o)e and diffi#(l y of Woolf<s )ro/e# . The Restorative Effects of eauty A he beginning of he novel, bo h Mr. $amsay and 1ily =ris#oe are dra"n o( of momen s of irri a ion by an image of e! reme bea( y. ,he image, in bo h #ases, is a vision of Mrs. $amsay, "ho, as she si s reading "i h +ames, is a sigh )o"erf(l eno(gh o in#i e ?ra) (re@ in William =ankes. =ea( y re ains his soo hing effe# hro(gho( he novelC some hing as rifling as a large b( very bea( if(l arrangemen of fr(i #an, for a momen , ass(age he dis#omfor of he g(es s a Mrs. $amsay<s dinner )ar y. 1ily la er #om)li#a es he no ion of bea( y as res ora ive by s(gges ing ha bea( y has he (nfor (na e #onseB(en#e of sim)lifying he r( h. ;er im)ression of Mrs. $amsay, she believes, is #om)romised by a de ermina ion o vie" her as bea( if(l and o smoo h over her #om)le!i ies and fa(l s. 2ever heless, 1ily #on in(es on her B(es o ?s ill@ or ?free7e@ a momen from life and make i bea( if(l. Al ho(gh he vision of an isola ed momen is ne#essarily in#om)le e, i is las ing and, as s(#h, endlessly sed(# ive o her. M#t&3s Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, or "iterar% devices that can he"$ to deve"o$ and inform the te#t's ma(or themes. The !iffering ehaviors of Men and Wo"en As 1ily =ris#oe s(ffers hro(gh >harles ,ansley<s boorish o)inions abo( "omen and ar , she refle# s ha h(man rela ions are "ors be "een men and "omen. %ndeed, given he e! remely o))osi e "ays in "hi#h men and "omen behave hro(gho( he novel, his diffi#(l y is no "onder. ,he dynami# be "een he se!es is bes (nders ood by #onsidering he behavior of Mr. and Mrs. $amsay. ,heir #ons an #onfli# has less o do "i h divergen )hiloso)hiesFindeed, hey bo h a#kno"ledge and are mo iva ed by he same fear of mor ali yF han "i h he "ay hey )ro#ess ha fear. Men, Mrs. $amsay refle# s in he o)ening )ages of he novel, bo" o i . Hiven her ra her radi ional no ions of gender roles, she e!#(ses her h(sband<s behavior as inevi able, asking ho" men #an be e!)e# ed o se le he )oli i#al and e#onomi# b(siness of na ions and no s(ffer do(b s. ,his (nders anding a i (de )la#es on "omen he res)onsibili y for soo hing men<s damaged egos and a#hieving some kind of harmony (even if em)orary) "i h hem. 1ily =ris#oe, "ho as a 4single "oman re)resen s a so#ial order more radial and lenien han Mrs. $amsay<s, resis s his d( y b( (l ima ely #aves in o i . rackets %n ?,ime *asses,@ bra#ke s s(rro(nd he fe" sen en#es re#o(n ing he dea hs of *r(e and Andre" $amsay, "hile in ?,he 1igh ho(se,@ bra#ke s s(rro(nd he sen en#es #om)rising >ha) er V%. 3a#h se of sen en#es in bra#ke s in he earlier se# ion #on ains violen#e, dea h, and he des r(# ion of )o en ial- he shor , s abbing a##o(n s a##en (a e he br( ali y of hese even s. =( in >ha) er V% of ?,he 1igh ho(se,@ he )(r)ose of he bra#ke s #hanges from indi#a ing violen#e and dea h o violen#e and )o en ial s(rvival. Whereas in ?,ime *asses,@ he bra#ke s s(rro(nd *r(e<s dea h in #hildbir h and Andre"<s )erishing in "ar, in ?,he 1igh ho(se@ hey s(rro(nd he ?m( ila ed@ b( ?alive s ill@ body of a fish. Sy*1#"s )%m!o"s are o!(ects, characters, figures, or co"ors used to re$resent a!stract ideas or conce$ts. The Lighthouse

1ying a#ross he bay and meaning some hing differen and in ima ely )ersonal o ea#h #hara# er, he ligh ho(se is a on#e ina##essible, ill(mina ing, and infini ely in er)re able. As he des ina ion from "hi#h he novel akes i s i le, he ligh ho(se s(gges s ha he des ina ions ha seem s(res are mos (nob ainable. +(s as Mr. $amsay is #er ain of his "ife<s love for him and aims o hear her s)eak "ords o ha end in ?,he Windo",@ Mrs. $amsay finds hese "ords im)ossible o say. ,hese failed a em) s o arrive a some sor of solid gro(nd, like 1ily<s firs ry a )ain ing Mrs. $amsay or Mrs. $amsay<s a em) o see *a(l and Min a married, res(l only in more a em) s, f(r her e!#(rsions ra her han res . ,he ligh ho(se s ands as a )o en symbol of his la#k of a ainabili y. +ames arrives only o reali7e ha i is no a all he mis 4shro(ded des ina ion of his #hildhood. %ns ead, he is made o re#on#ile "o #om)e ing and #on radi# ory images of he o"erFho" i a))eared o him "hen he "as a boy and ho" i a))ears o him no" ha he is a man. ;e de#ides ha bo h of hese images #on rib( e o he essen#e of he ligh ho(seF ha no hing is ever only one hingFa sen imen ha e#hoes he novel<s de ermina ion o arrive a r( h hro(gh varied and #on radi# ory van age )oin s. Lily#s Painting 1ily<s )ain ing re)resen s a s r(ggle agains gender #onven ion, re)resen ed by >harles ,ansley<s s a emen ha "omen #an< )ain or "ri e. 1ily<s desire o e!)ress Mrs. $amsay<s essen#e as a "ife and mo her in he )ain ing mimi#s he im)(lse among modern "omen o kno" and (nders and in ima ely he gendered e!)erien#es of he "omen "ho #ame before hem. 1ily<s #om)osi ion a em) s o dis#over and #om)rehend Mrs. $amsay<s bea( y /(s as Woolf<s #ons r(# ion of Mrs. $amsay<s #hara# er refle# s her a em) s o a##ess and )or ray her o"n mo her. ,he )ain ing also re)resen s dedi#a ion o a feminine ar is i# vision, e!)ressed hro(gh 1ily<s an!ie y over sho"ing i o William =ankes. %n de#iding ha #om)le ing he )ain ing regardless of "ha ha))ens o i is he mos im)or an hing, 1ily makes he #hoi#e o es ablish her o"n ar is i# voi#e. %n he end, she de#ides ha her vision de)ends on balan#e and syn hesisC ho" o bring oge her dis)ara e hings in harmony. %n his res)e# , her )ro/e# mirrors Woolf<s "ri ing, "hi#h syn hesi7es he )er#e) ions of her many #hara# ers o #ome o a balan#ed and r( hf(l )or rai of he "orld. The Ra"says# $ouse ,he $amsays< ho(se is a s age "here Woolf and her #hara# ers e!)lain heir beliefs and observa ions. A(ring her dinner )ar y, Mrs. $amsay sees her ho(se dis)lay her o"n inner no ions of shabbiness and her inabili y o )reserve bea( y. %n he ?,ime *asses@ se# ion, he ravages of "ar and des r(# ion and he )assage of ime are refle# ed in he #ondi ion of he ho(se ra her han in he emo ional develo)men or observable aging of he #hara# ers. ,he ho(se s ands in for he #olle# ive #ons#io(sness of hose "ho s ay in i . A imes he #hara# ers long o es#a)e i , "hile a o her imes i serves as ref(ge. Grom he dinner )ar y o he /o(rney o he ligh ho(se, Woolf sho"s he ho(se from every angle, and i s s r(# (re and #on en s mirror he in erior of he #hara# ers "ho inhabi i . The Sea $eferen#es o he sea a))ear hro(gho( he novel. =roadly, he ever4#hanging, ever4moving "aves )arallel he #ons an for"ard movemen of ime and he #hanges i brings. Woolf des#ribes he sea lovingly and bea( if(lly, b( her mos evo#a ive de)i# ions of i )oin o i s violen#e. As a for#e ha brings des r(# ion, has he )o"er o de#ima e islands, and, as Mr. $amsay refle# s, ?ea s a"ay he gro(nd "e s and on,@ he sea is a )o"erf(l reminder of he im)ermanen#e and deli#a#y of h(man life and a##om)lishmen s. The oar#s Skull

Af er her dinner )ar y, Mrs. $amsay re ires ()s airs o find he #hildren "ide4a"ake, bo hered by he boar<s sk(ll ha hangs on he n(rsery "all. ,he )resen#e of he sk(ll a# s as a dis (rbing reminder ha dea h is al"ays a hand, even (or )erha)s es)e#ially) d(ring life<s mos blissf(l momen s. The %ruit asket $ose arranges a fr(i baske for her mo her<s dinner )ar y ha serves o dra" he )ar ygoers o( of heir )riva e s(ffering and (ni e hem. Al ho(gh A(g(s (s >armi#hael and Mrs. $amsay a))re#ia e he arrangemen differen lyFhe ri)s a bloom from i - she ref(ses o dis (rb i F he )air is bro(gh harmonio(sly, if briefly, oge her. ,he baske es ifies bo h o he ?fro7en@ B(ali y of bea( y ha 1ily des#ribes and o bea( y<s sed(# ive and soo hing B(ali y.

To the Lighthouse Setting
Where % All Hoes Ao"n

A su""er house at the &sle of Skye in the $ebrides' ()*+s
Well, here are brief /a(n s else"hereC "alks o o"n, "alks aro(nd he la"n, and he all4 im)or an ligh ho(se /o(rney, b( he ho(se is "here i <s a . &(#h a s)e#ifi# lo#ale #rea es a )ar i#(lar en#los(re aro(nd he $amsay family and heir assor ed friends and #olleag(es, allo"ing Woolf o r(n in and o( of heir minds a "ill and #rea e a r(e sense of ba#kgro(nd for ea#h of hem, as "ell as a sense of (ni y d(ring he dinner )ar y s#ene. Mos of he novel<s a# ion I le <s make ha Ja# ionJ I akes )la#e before and af er World War %, "hi#h )la#es he #hara# ers in a )re y s)e#ifi# ime frame, he main re)er#(ssion being ha gender is a big deal. Enmarried "oman "ho likes o )ain K Aime a do7en hese days, b( no so m(#h ba#k hen.

To the Lighthouse Narrator:
Who is he narra or, #an she or he read minds, and, more im)or an ly, #an "e r(s her or himK

Third Person ,-"niscient.
,here are brief forays in o hird )erson narra ive, mos no ably d(ring *ar ,"o, b( for he mos )ar Woolf r(ns in and o( of everyone<s brains a "ill. ;er narra ive s yle is in ensely free4flo"ing, "hi#h "as )re y gro(nd4breaking ba#k in he day. More on his every"here.

To the Lighthouse Genre Modernis"
When yo(<re reading a novel and every so of en yo( si () and go, J"haaaaaa KJ i )robably fi s in o he genre of modernism. Modernis li era (re likes o break from es ablished s r(# (res (like, )lo s) in favor of dee)er aes he i# e!)lora ion I in his #ase, a dee)er

e!)lora ion in o he h(man mind. We<re s(re yo( #o(ldn< hel) b( no i#e ha no m(#h really ha))ens in his book as far as a# (al even s go. ,he kind of a# ion "e ge is 1ily )i#king () a )ain br(sh, or Mrs. $amsay kni ing. =( he real a# ion is going on in he #hara# ers< heads, e!)loring heir ho(gh s abo( hemselves, heir lives, and ea#h o her. ,he )lo isn< he mos im)or an as)e# of his book, i <s he ho(gh s of he individ(als ha make his book in eres ing and (niB(e.

To the Lighthouse Tone
,ake a s ory.s em)era (re by s (dying i s one. %s i ho)ef(lK >yni#alK &narkyK *layf(lK

!eliberate/ !eliberately confusing/
3very single momen in To the Lighthouse is milked for all i s "or h. 1e <s ake a look a he )assage, "hi#h o##(rs as Mr. =ankes admires a vie" of sandhillsC J;e "as an!io(s for he sake of his friendshi) and )erha)s oo in order o #lear himself in his o"n mind from he im)( a ion of having dried and shr(nk I for $amsay lived in a "el er of #hildren, "hereas =ankes "as #hildless and a "ido"er I he "as an!io(s ha 1ily =ris#oe sho(ld no dis)arage $amsay (a grea man in his o"n "ay) ye sho(ld (nders and ho" hings s ood be "een hem. =eg(n long years ago, heir friendshi) had )e ered o( on a Wes morland road, "here he hen s)read her "ings before her #hi#ks- af er "hi#h $amsay had married, and heir )a hs lying differen "ays, here had been, #er ainly for no one<s fa(l , some enden#y, "hen hey me , o re)ea .J,hink abo( ho" he above )assage en#om)asses he )as (ho" Mr. =ankes<s friendshi) "i h Mr. $amsay died o( ), he )resen (Mr. =ankes is a #hildless "ido"er and Mr. $amsay is married "i h kids), and he f( (re (an!ie y ha 1ily no say any hing bad abo( Mr. $amsay), all in one Jmomen J of he novel, as Mr. =ankes admires he vie". ,his is bo h delibera e (one momen is s re #hed o( ) and delibera ely #onf(sing (shoving ha m(#h informa ion in o one momen L sk sk).

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