To the Lighthouse Essay

Topics: Mind, Literature, Virginia Woolf Pages: 3 (1018 words) Published: August 25, 2013
ENGL 201   
SEA CHANGES: A HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE   
  
 
Diana Russell 
FOURTH EXERCISE  
  
He reached Q. Very few people in the whole of England ever reach Q … What, indeed, if you look from a mountain top down the long wastes of the  ages? The very stone one kicks with one's boot will outlast Shakespeare.  (Chapter 6 page 31 - The window) 

What does it mean then, what can it all mean? Lily Briscoe asked  herself, wondering whether, since she had been left alone, it behoved  her to go to the kitchen to fetch another cup of coffee or wait here.  …And Cam was not ready and James was not ready and Nancy had forgotten to order the sandwiches and Mr. Ramsay had lost his temper and banged out of the room. (page 139 chapter 1, The Lighthouse)   

 
To the Lighthouse is considered a ‘Modern’ novel, and Virginia Woolf was rather fixated on the idea of everything being new and modern. Woolf aimed to write a new type of novel, a novel that stepped outside the ordinarily accepted conventions. She states in her 1922 essay, Modern Fiction, “If the writer … could write what he choose … if he could base his work upon his own feeling and not upon convention, there would be no plot, no comedy, no tragedy, no love interest or catastrophe in the accepted style”. This is true of the conventions of To the Lighthouse. Therefore the literary form used was very much experimental. Woolf uses a ‘stream of consciousness’ narration that is meant to represent real life, “Is life like this? Must novels be like this? ... Life is not symmetrically arranged…life is a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end”. Woolf presents us with the ephemeral moments of multiple characters attempting to find meaning in their lives. Woolf then goes on to say, “Examine for a moment an ordinary mind on an ordinary day. The mind receives a myriad impressions – trivial, fantastic, evanescent, or engraved with the sharpness of steel.” The stream of...

References: Woolf, Virginia. "Modern Fiction". The Broadview Anthology of British Literature: The Twentieth Century and Beyond. Ed. Joseph Black. 2006. 227. Print.
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