To the Lighthouse

The Men Who Are Mr. Ramsay

To the Lighthouse is a novel about Mrs. Ramsay; her ways, her wiles, and her lasting impact. Though she dies with half the novel left to read, there is no doubt that, whatever intention Woolf had, Mrs. Ramsay is the main character for she is certainly the protagonist. The role of antagonist, then, falls squarely on the shoulders of her husband, Mr. Ramsay. Mr. Ramsay is not as likeable as his better half, but he is just as complex. He may even be more so when examining the actual influences, and the number of them, that went into constructing his character.

The novel is largely autobiographical. Woolf's family is represented, demographically, in a near perfect clone. In the novel, the Ramsay family consists of the parents and eight children (Woolf 14). Woolf's family consisted of eight children as well, when counting half-brothers and half-sisters (Dalsimer 4). Such a fact could be merely trivial, except for how the families diminished in size. For the Ramsays, the mother died, followed by Prue, then Andrew (Woolf 128, 132, 133). Likewise, Woolf's mother died first, when she was 13, then a half-sister, and then her brother Thoby died (Dalsimer xiii).

Woolf was young when her mother died, so it is difficult to guess...

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