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Essay on Overview: To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

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Virginia Woolf’s “ To the Lighthouse” tells a story of a family who goes to their summer house with a selected groups of friends. It highlights a series of familial problems, differences in traditional opposes to modernistic view of family as well as to highlight marriage and childhood experience as central theme. Mrs. Ramsey the protagonist travels throughout the novel even though she dies about midway of the novel’s action. She becomes the focal point which connects everyone in the summer house. Woolf uses imagery and symbolism to take place for much of the missing dialogue in the novel and thus they play a central role. Symbols found in the novel are Lily’s painting, the sea and the lighthouse and imagery will be discussed with regards to each section and what it signifies to the novel as whole.
The image of Mrs. Ramsey and her youngest son cutting out magazines is a very intimate one and it begins the novel’s action. It identifies not only a mother tending the needs of her son but also the intimate relationship shared between the two. “ James Ramsey, sitting on the floor cutting out pictures from the catalogue of the army and navy stores.” This image of mother and child resonates in the mind of the reader and when the novel concludes, it is shown where the scene is similar the image of James and his father as he is able to less go of the loss of his mother and his hatred for his father, thus giving his an opportunity to share those moments of bliss lost with the death of his mother. Imagery plays a very important role in Woolf’s depiction of the storyline. Shoe relies more on imagery than she does on dialogue to connote meaning in the novel. This image identifies not only the relationship of mother and son but foreshadows th...


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...es to Lily that a woman cannot paint. The painting stands for the feminist representation of going against traditional beliefs and also suggests that a lack of a male in Lily’s life does not detract from it.
The novel “To the Lighthouse” is filled with symbolic representation and imagery which functions as a form of dialogue which is not fully presented in the novel. The symbol of the lighthouse is a beacon to the Ramsey family which resolve the family disputes and also provides Lily with the opportunity to finally come in terms with her feelings and able to give Mr. Ramsey the sympathy for his death as well as to complete her painting.








Works Cited

NeoEnglish. What is Symblism?Elaborate the various elements of symbolism in To the Lighthouse.
Oxford English Dictionary
Woolf, Virginia. To the Lighthouse. Penguin Classics 2000.



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