Themes in To the Lighthouse by Virginia WoolfThemes in To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

To the Lighthouse employs several thematic concerns. Virginia Woolf is appeared as an artist in the novel and lays much stress on the importance of art. There are so many Themes in To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf that shows Virginia Woolf art of writing in the literature world. In To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf novel has the theme of Art and beauty, Human relationships, Art and life, and Feminism, these are major themes of the novel To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. If you want to see a video on this topic please click here

  • The theme of Art and Beauty

Virginia Woolf captures the interior life of the characters and the outer beauty of the nature and natural world. She has introduced art as a living character in her novel. She lays much importance on the significance of art in the natural world. Mrs. Ramsey and Lily play the role of two opposites in the novel signifying the value of life versus art. She has presented the novel in an overlapping sense that art and life seem to dominate each other. For this distinction, Woolf has divided the novel into three halves. But there should be somehow opportunities to practice the art. Virginia thus tries to hold the supremacy of art over life. She has depicted Lily as a painter and has great admiration for Mrs. Ramsay. Art in the novel is somehow trying to centralize its position by Woolf. Mrs. Ramsay’s attitude towards creativity and the art of Lily holds no compassion. Mrs. Woolf holds the opinion that life holds supremacy over art. Through the conversation with Mrs. Ramsay, we gather that she is a rare living beauty. Her daughter wishes to be her follower. She uses to admire her mother. Lily is going to be dependent on her art and creativity completely.  She seems always busy in creating her paintings giving value to the art. Mrs. Ramsay shows that she is more realistic and lively.  

Major Themes in To the lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

  • Human relationship

Human relationship is one of the major themes of the novel to the lighthouse by Virginia Woolf which gives charms to the novel. Virginia Woolf waves the story of her novel depicting the human relationship complexity. She sees society as isolated and deserted. Communication is a supreme source of building strong relationships. But here Woolf sees the world as a vacuum where the people are alienated and isolated. They exert and exercise the social pressure created by some of their surrounding characters. She is of the view that there is little effort needed to build genial human relationships. Mrs. Ramsay wanders to seek attention from Lily but she remains neutral throughout the course of the novel. She prefers in building her relationship with art. The happiness of life can be retrieved by strong relationships. Logic and reasoning involve the man in perplexity. But happiness is attained with very little effort from the characters. Mrs. Ramsay seems to have a tendency to attract people and force them to start communication. She suggests that there should be a love match between Paul and Minta. She is also in favor of the relationship between Lily and Mr. Bankes. There is falsehood and pretension in the relationship between Mr. Ramsay and her wife. Mrs. Ramsay seems to pretend that she is dominating and superior in her relationship.

  • Theme Art and life

Theme Art and life are one of the major themes in To the light house novel. In To the Lighthouse Virginia Woolf depicts the life of an artist in relation to her art. She is of the view that art needs life to complete its task. It needs a medium to exist. She gives a description of the power of art and the influence of art on the part of the lives of her characters. Mrs. Ramsay is always considerate towards the lower class. She is ready to help and facilitate the poor. She is concerned about the reconciliation of the society. She proves to be a lively character. She is full of life and lively spirit. Lily sees her efforts of reconciliation and reunion of the society ‘’ as a work of art’’. She thinks that it also requires labour and struggle to reunite the human relationship as the work of art requires efforts require labour to fill the canvas. She admires her efforts and thinks that she is trying to hit the mark. She identifies the difference between herself and Mrs. Ramsay. She thinks that she is trying to make a creative thing through her art but Mrs. Ramsay has achieved already by reuniting the different people. Thus she is living a pure life and gives new meaning to art and life.                      

  • Theme of Feminism

The novel specifies the role of women in society through the work of art. Virginia Woolf portrayed two female characters with different habits and manners. Both seem to represent different classes. Both are following their own perspective on life and art. But soon Lily admires the efforts of Mrs. Ramsay in reuniting the people. This shows the character development of Lily as a modern woman. Mrs. Ramsay seems to be restricted by society. But Lily has free will to make choices about her life. She is independent to fill her canvas according to her own will. Virginia Woolf belongs to the group of Victorian women. She has displayed a distinction between Victorian and modern women. She has depicted Victorian values evaluating and merging into modern values by introducing the two different female characters. Mrs. Ramsay plays the role of a mother and the modern woman also.

So, having read the whole novel To the lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, it becomes clear that this novel is a talent of To Virginia Woolf and has several themes in itself that can be called major themes in to the the lighthouse

Through the technique of stream of consciousness Virginia Woolf captures and records the inner thoughts of the characters. She records the past events of the novel with the help of this technique. She records their spontaneous reactions to a immediate event with the help of this technique. Virginia Woolf is much interested in depicting the inner realities of all the characters. She hints that they are trying to conceal their real identities but that are revealed through the interior monologue of the characters. The characters speak in the novel to reveal their inner self. Virginia restricts their actions and gives them ability to think and reveal their inner life. Thus the novel presents a reflective outlook by adding the details about the inner thought of the characters. Through this captivity of thoughts Virginia is able to present a realistic picture about the past events and the childhood memories. She also inculcates some sort of autobiographical elements through the description of the inner thought of the characters. She is depicting the story in a unique way through employing this technique.

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