The Character of Mrs. Ramsay in To The Lighthouse Essay

The Character of Mrs. Ramsay in To The Lighthouse Essay

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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. Throughout the novel, her character and spirit is connected to light, which is universally a positive symbol. The other characters associate her with light through implied juxtaposition because she brought positive energy to everybody who knew her. An example is Paul who after being told by Mrs. Ramsay that she believed in him felt his situation was turned around in a better way. "He would go to her and say, "I've done it, Mrs. Ramsay; thanks to you." And so turning into the lane... The house was all lit up, and the lights after darkness made his eyes feel full, and he said to himself childishly, as he walked up the drive, Ughts, lights, lights." (p.78)

By being the symbol of light, Mrs. Ramsay also brings things from chaos into order. This can be seen with her desire to be organized. The house was always organized such as if she left a brush or comb on a dressing table, she expected it to still be there the next time she looked for it. (p. 136) The characters' world is filled with chaos, examples being that the setting is during WWI and that the lighthouse was being taken over by nature until Mrs. Ramsay put it back into order. The order that she brought with her contrasts to the disorder that came about af...


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...ck into stability. Life stand still here, Mrs. Ramsay said. "Mrs. Ramsay! Mrs. Ramsay!" she repeated. She owed it all to her."

Another example of Mrs. Ramsay's kindness is when James is on the boat with his father, Mr. Ramsay: "[Mrs. Ramsayl alone spoke the truth; to her alone he could speak it. That was the source of her everlasting attraction for him, perhaps. She was .a person ~ whom one could say what came into one's .head~" (p. 187) She is a person who put others before her.

Mrs. Ramsay's character is so divine that it is unreal. She spends most of her time shining the light on for everybody else that she hides her own personal needs to herself. She takes the world out of chaos, but there might have been chaos going on inside of her and nobody knew about it, so they could not help her. Perhaps that was the reason of Mrs. Ramsay's unexpected death.

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