To the Lighthouse

Depression in "To The Lighthouse" College

Virginia Woolf'sTo the Lighthouse is an experimental novel, in which Woolf uses stream of consciousness to portray family dynamics, gender relations, and attitudes toward the ontology of art and the artistic subject. Thelighthouse itself is an important symbol in the novel in that it brings a bright light to ships at sea, only to then give way to complete darkness, a clear parallelto Woolf’s maniac and depressive episodes:

“When the darkness fell, the stroke of the Lighthouse, which had laid itself with such authority upon the carpet in the darkness…” (144)

One of the most important elements, if not the most important in To the Lighthouse, is time. During the first and third sections of the book, time passes slowly as Woolf uses stream of consciousness and the inner time of thecharacters, rather than an outside source, to show us its progression. It is during the mid section of the novel, that there is a change and time passes much more rapidly:

“Through the short summer nights and the long summer days…and then, night after night, and sometimes in plain mid-day when the roses were bright and light turned on the walls its shape clearly there…” (145)

“Night and day, month and year ran shapelessly together… But the stillness and...

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