Words of Wisdom:

"I tried so hard, and got so far, but in the end, it doesnt even matter" - Rich8701


  • Date Submitted: 10/01/2012 01:58 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 66.4 
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Virginia wolf wanted a different type of novel.

what is the relationship between the lighthouse and the main characters .

The Lighthouse
Before launching into what Virginia Woolf might be talking about with this here Lighthouse, let's take a second to consider what a lighthouse is. (Here's a photo.) The American Heritage Dictionary tells us that it's a "tall structure topped by a powerful light used as a signal to aid maritime navigation." So, a lighthouse is a signal. It's something people who are lost can look towards for guidance. And it's a "tall structure" – a big, solid, unmoving structure. But that powerful light? It does move. When the night falls, it flashes on, and when the sun rises, it shuts off. So a lighthouse works as both a symbol of stability and of change (as its lights go on and off with the turning of the day).

Now, about this specific Lighthouse. We know that it's visible from the Ramsays' summer home but separated from it by a stretch of sea, because Mr. Ramsay loves to look at it (see 1.1.22). And we know that, at least at first, James Ramsay really wants to get there – so much that when Mr. Ramsay says they won't be able to sail to the Lighthouse the next day, James Ramsay contemplates murder: "Had there been an axe handy, a poker, or any weapon that would have gashed a hole in his father's breast and killed him, there and then, James would have seized it" (1.1.4).

The Lighthouse as a Symbol for Traditional Family Structure
So, James and Mr. Ramsay have so much invested in the Lighthouse – either in getting to it in the first place or in preventing others from going? Well, one important thing they share in common is that they're both guys. Another important thing? They're both really into Mrs. Ramsay. Sure, one's her husband and the other's her son, but they feel they have to compete with each other for her attention – remember: "most of all [James] hated the twang and twitter of his father’s emotion which, vibrating round...


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