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...
... middle of paper ...
...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.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Character of Mr. Ramsay in To The Lighthouse When reading novels, it is important to understand the aspects of each character to completely get the message that the author is trying to send to the reader. In the novel, To The Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf illustrates the character, Mr. Ramsay as a husband and a father of eight. As a husband, he mentally abuses his wife, Mrs. Ramsay, and as a father, Mr. Ramsay discourages and psychologically abuses his children to an extent that makes his children hate him. Mr.... [tags: To The Lighthouse Essays]
793 words (2.3 pages)
- To the Lighthouse – Role of Wife and Mother Woolf portrays the character of Mrs. Ramsay as a self sacrificing woman and mother as defined through her interactions with men: Charles Tansley, Mr. Carmichael, Paul, Mr. Bankes, Mr. Ramsay, and James. During Mrs. Ramsay's lifetime she is admired by most of these men, and is continually striving to be esteemed by all of them, at any sacrifice to herself. Although there is goodness in Mrs. Ramsay, not unselfishly given, there are also rising questions of this representation of mother by Woolf, primarily put forth through the characters of Lily and Mrs.... [tags: To The Lighthouse Essays]
645 words (1.8 pages)
- The opening scene of To The Lighthouse between Mr Ramsay and Mrs Ramsay displays the gender division that flows throughout this passage highlighting Woolf’s own perspective on society and sexuality between genders. Woolf supports the belief in a complete change to society resulting in a non – hierarchical society. Woolf felt for this to happen aside from the practical changes, that a radical redefinition of sexuality was also needed. The novel focuses on sexual issues of the twentieth century central to feminist campaigns, such as marriage being a form of institutionalized slavery .... [tags: To The Lighthouse Essays]
1230 words (3.5 pages)
- To the Lighthouse The Two-Dimensional Character In the novel, To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf illustrates the character of Mr. Ramsay, a husband and father of eight children. As a husband, he degrades and mentally abuses his wife, Mrs. Ramsay, and as a father, he disparages and psychologically injures his children. Yet, Mr. Ramsay has another side -- a second dimension. He carries the traits of a very compassionate and loving husband and a securing and nurturing father.... [tags: To The Lighthouse Essays]
693 words (2 pages)
- 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]
981 words (2.8 pages)
- Importance of Brackets in To The Lighthouse [Here Mr. Carmichael, who was reading Virgil, blew out his candle. It was midnight.] [Mr. Ramsay, stumbling along a passage one dark morning, stretched his arms out, but Mrs. Ramsay having died rather suddenly the night before, his arms, though stretched out, remained empty.] [Prue Ramsay died that summer in some illness connected with childbirth, which was indeed a tragedy, people said, everything, they said, had promised so well.] [A shell exploded.... [tags: To The Lighthouse Essays]
798 words (2.3 pages)
- Reader Response to Woolf’s To The Lighthouse There is a saying that the worth of a man’s life is best measured by the degree to which he has if he has touched the lives of others and not by the quantity of worldly possessions that he has acquired. It is important to keep this in mind when considering Virginia Woolf’s novel, To The Lighthouse. Throughout the novel, it seems as though the characters, mainly Mr. And Mrs. Ramsay, are trying to find worth in their lives. As a first time reader of the novel, it immediately seemed clear to me that the eight children that Mr.... [tags: To The Lighthouse Essays]
1503 words (4.3 pages)
- 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]
2170 words (6.2 pages)
- To the Lighthouse - Bridge Between Worlds Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse illustrates a bridge between the worlds of the Victorian mother and the modern, potentially independent woman. The Victorian woman was to be absorbed, as Mrs. Ramsay is, by the task of being mother and wife. Her reason for existing was to complete the man, rather than to exist in her own right. Mrs. Ramsay certainly sees this role for herself and is disturbed when she feels, momentarily, that she is better than her husband because he needs her support to feel good about himself and the life choices he has made.... [tags: To The Lighthouse Essays]
461 words (1.3 pages)
- Death, Gender, and Social Roles in To the Lighthouse To the Lighthouse is a book preoccupied by death, and gender is formulated by the difference in response to its threat. Women pursue immortality through creation of illusion and men through pursuance of facts. The novel questions the distinction between the sexes that became rigidified into pre-WWI gender roles which are exemplified in the institution of marriage. A younger generation fights against the rigidity of gender boundaries, Lily being the chief representative of this rebellion.... [tags: To The Lighthouse Essays]
5284 words (15.1 pages)