To the Lighthouse

The Use of Light in “To the Lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf College

In Virginia Woolf’s novel “To the Lighthouse” the author explores the theme of light through her characters Mrs. Ramsay and Lily Briscoe. Both women identify light differently in their lives, figuratively and metaphorically, and use light as a means of connection and inspiration. Both characters are affected by the lighthouse’s strokes of light and its rhythm of motion. Mrs. Ramsay connects to the strong guiding light of the lighthouse and finds fulfillment in channeling its light through her own actions. Lily pursues the balance of light through her painting of Mrs. Ramsay, creating a beautiful piece of meaningful art that allows her to express herself while she preserves Mrs. Ramsay’s memory. Each character has a different interpretation of light and how it affects her throughout the novel.

Mrs. Ramsay is seen as the embodiment of light in the first section of the novel when she comforts her husband before the dinner party. Mrs. Ramsay uses her keen sense of intuition when her husband approaches her after interacting with their children. The Ramsay children do not care for their father as much as they do their mother, and this often leaves Mr. Ramsay feeling sorry for himself. When Mr. Ramsay stands behind his wife, as if...

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