Free «to the lighthouse by virginia woolf – A critical overview» Essay Sample
It has been a clear departure from the literary realism of the nineteenth century. Pioneer of this change were Virginia Woolf supported by James Joyce and William Faulkener who used the stream of consciousness technique in To the Lighthouse. Throwing light on the English Victorian domesticity in the social background of the contemporary period, the book had three discrete sections. First section of the book is titled The Window and it attracts the attention of the readers to the summer household of Ramsay. Mrs. Ramsay informs that they would sail to the lighthouse next day to provide provisions to the keeper and his son. When Mr. Ramsay and his friend Charles Transley insisted that the weather may not permit safe journey, Mrs. Ramsay offered more optimistic forecast. Basically the pursuit of truth by Mr. Ramsay without any regard for the feeling of other people that hurts Mrs. Ramsay and yet she remains the faithful Victorian wife. She silently supports her husband, accepts his verdicts, and accompanies him on silent strolls that create an impression that presence of her husband is needed.
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The truth however is that it is she who rules the household. Several characters make their appearances in the first section of the book. While Mrs. Ramsay remains busy in her social calls and visit of sick, Mr. Ramsay and Mr. Transley remain busy in discussing philosophy. On the other hand there are Andrew and Nancy, who walk daringly along the cliffs where Minta and Paul, a couple are trying to find out some lonely moments and an embrace in one such moment causes discomfort to Andrew and Nancy. Minta loses her grandmother’s brooch among the rocks. Despite a heroic search, Paul fails to retrieve it. However he plans to present her with a new one. In the process of searching they return home late that agitates Mrs. Ramsay since her perfect dinner plan is disrupted. She could complete dinner successfully and also was able to solve the problem of children at bed frightened by a bore’s head. While she joins her husband in the library, some guests go out to watch the waves.
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Section 2 opens up ten years later. On the one hand the house has deteriorated and on the other hand World War I has started. Mrs. Ramsay, Prue, and Andrew have died in the meanwhile. The third and final section The Lighthouse introduced the return of Mr. Ramsay, James, Lily, Cam, and Mr. Carmichael to the Ramsay home on the Skye Isle. James and Cam had no enthusiasm for the trip to the lighthouse. However they concede to the insistence of their father to join him in the trip. Lily remains on the shore to complete the paintings of her parents started ten years ago. (Source: People who have read the book have some unique comments to make. “It took me longer to read than such a short book probably should have, but it’s such dense writing that, in a way, I’m surprise it didn’t take me longer. This has been said before by people much smarter than I, but I’ll say it again: Virginia Woolf was a genius. As I closed the book, I said to myself I want to write”. (Source: Webster Encyclopedia of Literature – Teressa- 2009) Beauty of the creation of Virginia Woolf lies in the fact that she was able to create a feeling of identity with the real life characters with his creation To the Lighthouse. Many people saw the real life reflections of not only the contemporary Victorian era but also a part of the problems and tragedies experienced by people in the modern era. Not that there are only brighter side to the creation of Virginia Woolf. A few parts of the book may be a little stale and boring for the lovers of fast moving stories. As Emily remarks “I'm conflcited about my feelings for Virginia Woolf. One one hand I adore her and think her work created breathing room for countless women writers and artists. I appreciate the depth of her characters, the struggles through which those characters were born, and the creativity of her often subtle language. At the same time, sometimes she just BORES me”. (Source: Emily's bookshelf: booksofthepast) In fact Virginia woolf makes one feel about the parallel performance of the outer and inner worlds and their quite separate continuities.
The uniqueness of Woolf’s creation is in the astonishingly normal life lead by its characters. They do not have moral turpitudes that are revealed before others. In essence the work is combination of equilibrium as well as subtle correspondences. Going back to the contemporary reviews one will be inclined to agree with Edwin Muir in his review in Nation and Athenaeum that “To the Lighthouse is a novel difficult to judge…The difficulties which the author surmounts in it are such as few contemporary novelists would even attempt. Its positive merits are thus very high”. Bottom line is that if you really read anything by Virginia Woolf then you should read this one. In addition to the magnetic and charming Mrs. Ramsay whose presence and absence equally influence the book, the central character still remains Lily Briscoe who while spending her times with her paintings and family, embarks on a metaphorical trip to the lighthouse that was promised and yet continued to be an unfulfilled destination for the Ramsay children.

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