To the Lighthouse

Legacy, Love, and Loneliness: An Analysis of Allusions in Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse College

In Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse, allusions to other texts emphasize the importance of human connection and relationships. Mr. Ramsay values his ability to influence others with his philosophical works over his relationships with his wife and children. The most important thing for him is to reach the epitome of knowledge and be remembered for his genius. Texts such as Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade,” and Cowper's “The Castaway,” are alluded to in the narrative and the context in which they are referenced implies that relationships should be valued above all. Mr. Ramsay recites “Charge of the Light Brigade” at the beginning of the novel and, in accordance with the proud tone of the poem, admires the effect one man can have on many. His character development is demonstrated by his recitation of the “The Castaway” at the conclusion, which shows a shift in perspective of what matters more to him: academic fame or his relationship with his family. Through these allusions, Woolf suggests that an obsession with affecting others and marking one’s place in history is not as important as genuine human connections because ultimately these relationships are what fulfill and sustain life.

The first allusion of many that Mr....

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