Essay on Lily’s Artifice and Mr. Ramsey's Work in To the Lighthouse

Essay on Lily’s Artifice and Mr. Ramsey's Work in To the Lighthouse

Length: 2862 words (8.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

A Comparison of Lily’s Artifice and Mr. Ramsey's Work in To the Lighthouse  

        In Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse,  Mr. Ramsey’s lone philosophical work is contrasted against Lily’s encompassing paintings.  Both Lily’s and Mr. Ramsey’s professions require sacrifices;  Lily gives up the ideal marital life whereas Mr. Ramsey has his wife forfeit her happiness to restore his.  Through his work,  Mr. Ramsey is able to build himself up and look as though he is a strong male figure.  Lily also finds strength within her artistry,  rejecting the traditional “mother-woman” image and taking on an identity that is unique in her society. Mr. Ramsey’s and Lily’s process of thinking are particular to their work;  a philosopher must think in linear terms to get to a final conclusion whereas a painter has to envision and dream up their art in symbols,  shapes and more abstract images.  As Mr. Ramsey grows older,  he loses sight of his original intentions as an artisan and ends up worrying more about the immortality of his work than the content.  Lily,  on the other hand,  focuses on the continuity and harmony that her paintings portray.  Lily wants to capture the essence of life;  Mr. Ramsey cannot do so because he cannot fully express his emotions without a conduit such as Mrs. Ramsey.   Without Mrs. Ramsey,  he is not a whole self,  which makes his work lack the original enlightenment it once held.  Mrs. Ramsey fuels Lily’s and Mr. Ramsey’s work in different ways;  Lily receives her “vision”(209) through Mrs. Ramsey’s past motherly presence and Mr. Ramsey needs her to energize his often sinking spirits. Whether they are occupied within the artists themselves or others surrounding them,  martyrs are needed to construct the art ...

... middle of paper ... the world.  Mr. Ramsey,  who requires another’s energy to generate his work,  is ultimately left alone in the world.  He wanders aimlessly looking for Mrs. Ramsey to help him give birth to new ideas but she is no longer there.  Although he has gotten exactly what he wished for,  solitude brings him despair and unhappiness;  he cannot be complete without his wife by his side.  Lily is able to free herself through the completion of the painting depicting mother and child.  With the conclusion of this artwork,  she finally has a matriarchal figure in her life and is free from the oppression of society’s stereotypical female role.  She describes this painting as being “intimate” because she shared something very personal with Mrs. Ramsey:  the ability to give life.

Work Cited

Woolf,  Virginia.  To the Lighthouse.  Florida:  Harcourt Brace & Company, 1927.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Figurative Language in A Work of Artifice

- Figurative Language in A Work of Artifice by Marge Piercy     "A clever trick, crafty device, or stratagem" is how Webster's Encyclopedia of Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language defines Artifice. Marge Piercy definitely used "crafty" techniques in writing "A Work of Artifice." In this poem, Piercy reflects on the growth of a bonsai tree, considering the molded existence of what it is to what it could have naturally been. With deeper analysis of this poem, the correlation between a bonsai tree and the shaped role of women within society becomes evident....   [tags: Work Artifice]

Powerful Essays
974 words (2.8 pages)

Personal Response to Marge Piercy's A Work of Artifice Essay

- Personal Response to Marge Piercy's A Work of Artifice My initial response to "A Work of Artifice" by Marge Piercy, was one of profound sadness. In defining myself as the actual reader of this poem, my background becomes significant in my emotional response. "It is this reader who comes to the text shaped by cultural and personal norms and prejudices." (Bressler, p. 72) I come from a family of poets and published writers and have been reading and composing poetry since the age of 4. My first poem was published in the local newspaper, in which I won first prize, at age 5....   [tags: Work of Artifice Essays]

Free Essays
1323 words (3.8 pages)

The Growth of Lily and Her Painting in "To The Lighthouse" Essay

- Lily Briscoe is working on a painting throughout the book To The Lighthouse. She does not want anyone to see her painting and considers throwing it to the grass when someone walks by (Woolf 17-18). Other characters in the book seem to have different opinions about her painting. Mrs. Ramsay, William Bankes, and Charles Tansley all have differing views about Lily’s painting. While showing her painting to William Bankes, Lily realizes that she doesn’t like it. During Mrs. Ramsay’s dinner party, Lily realizes what she needs to do to fix her painting but doesn’t until the end of the story....   [tags: Literature Review]

Powerful Essays
2125 words (6.1 pages)

Lily’s Reflections in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse Essay

- Lily’s Reflections in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse Embodying the spirit of the female artist, Lily Briscoe in To the Lighthouse examines critical issues pertaining to her role in Virginia Woolf’s novel. In Part Three of the novel, Mrs. Ramsay’s legacy plays an especially important role in Lily’s thinking processes. Flowing experimentally like the sea that day, Lily’s thoughts encompass the novel’s themes of the passage of time, the role of the woman, and the role of the artist. Though time can break down physical matter, its prodding cannot disperse vivid memories....   [tags: To The Lighthouse Essays]

Powerful Essays
1359 words (3.9 pages)

The Character of Mrs. Ramsay in To The Lighthouse Essay

- The Character of Mrs. Ramsay in To The Lighthouse Virginia Woolf's novel, To The Lighthouse, is full of symbolism that describes the surroundings and the life of Mrs. Ramsay who is the central character. She helps to bring the world out of chaos and darkness with her positive nature and by being the source of light for the other characters. She is also a peacemaker, beautiful, maternal, and almost divine. Mrs. Ramsay's first word in the novel is "yes" which reflects her affirmative and positive nature....   [tags: To The Lighthouse Essays]

Powerful Essays
825 words (2.4 pages)

Essay about An Insightful Journey in Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse

- An Insightful Journey in Woolf’s To The Lighthouse The lighthouse stands in the distance. It signifies a far off place that takes planning and work to reach. Depending on your perspective, the lighthouse may look different. It may appear large or small, short or tall, it may be dark and musty or bright and clear. Perspective is defined by Random House dictionary as "a broad view of events or ideas in their true nature and relationships". Virginia Woolf, in To The Lighthouse, takes an insightful journey into the true nature of relationships through the perspective of many different characters....   [tags: To The Lighthouse Essays]

Powerful Essays
1185 words (3.4 pages)

The Characters Hidden Values and Needs in To The Lighthouse Essay

- The Characters Hidden Values and Needs in To The Lighthouse   Woolf's chosen role as an author is to uncover the hidden values and needs of her characters' psychologies, and by extension of this, those of her readers — each frequent realization of the character's is a real and vividly personal epiphany, the like of which 'real-life' persons do not have such a feel for on a day-to-day basis; the characters are in a very real sense perhaps too self-aware to be considered 'real'. (Tansley and Lily at the dinner table each understand their situations perfectly.) The underlying message Woolf seems to be seeking to present is that this self-knowledge is not necessarily inherently of any worth...   [tags: To The Lighthouse Essays]

Powerful Essays
981 words (2.8 pages)

Narrative Theory in Virgina Woolf's To the Lighthouse Essay

- Beginning, Plot, Sequence, Closure: Teaching To the Lighthouse Narrative theory is extremely useful in teaching modernist fiction; its revival in the beginning of the twentieth century may be a direct response to the practices of modernist fiction. One of the most important components of narrative theory is what I call narrative dynamics, or the related issues of presentation of the story from the choice of beginning point, through the arrangement of linear and nonlinear sequences of events, to the function of the ending....   [tags: To the Lighthouse Essays]

Powerful Essays
1930 words (5.5 pages)

Essay on To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

- To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf When speaking of modernism in the work Virginia Woolf, scholars too readily use her innovations in style and technique as the starting point for critical analysis, focusing largely on the ways in which her prose represents a departure from the conventional novel in both style and content. To simply discuss the extent of her unique style, however, is to overlook the role of tradition in her creation of a new literary identity. In To the Lighthouse, Woolf's invention reveals itself instead as a reinvention, a recasting of the conventional through the use of the traditional....   [tags: Lighthouse Virginia Woolf Essays]

Powerful Essays
2170 words (6.2 pages)

To the Lighthouse Essay

- Q: Discuss the third section as befitting conclusion to novel. "To the Lighthouse" is based on stream of conscious technique. It mainly deals with the different ways of perceiving the life. Many of the people in it are struggling to find answers to the answerable questions in the first section: `Who knows what we are. What we feel. These questions have reechoed in the third section. Similarly, there are number of issues which are left loose ended in first part have resolved and tied up in the third section....   [tags: European Literature]

Powerful Essays
842 words (2.4 pages)