In the novel, the theme of marriage is a fundamental one. The actual meaning of this marriage, however, receives differing clarifications. In a book by Alice van Buren Kelley, for example, an interpretation of the Ramsays’ marriage by Herbert Marder is considered: “Herbert Marder feels that Virginia Woolf ‘viewed marriage from two
essentially different points of view, describing it, in an intensely critical spirit as a patriarchal institution, but also expressing a visionary ideal of marriage as the ultimate relation’” (Kelley 115). This quotation seems to illustrate both the strife and harmony of Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay’s relationship to one another. One could further suggest that the Ramsays’ marriage represent an ideal balance between seemingly conflicted truths. This observation of opposing truths is depicted in both characters. At the beg...
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...riumphs because she intuits eternity; and Mr. Ramsay, though he loftily seeks a philosophical absolute which will solve the problem of ‘subject and object and the nature of reality’, cannot break his bondage to time without the aid of his wife. Together they fulfill each other, and are the creators of life” (Latham 34). They think nothing alike, yet they need each other nonetheless. Therefore, Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay are deeply interdependent. Without one it seems as though the other would not exist, nor would there exist an all
encompassing journey of transcendence to the lighthouse.
In summation, the substance of To the Lighthouse is provided directly by life, it catches life in a fashion that I have yet to see in any other novel. I enjoyed this book very much, however I recognize reasons for people’s not liking it so much. It is undeniable that To the Lighthouse lacks progressive action that involves moral choices and decisions. The novel must tell a story. Although, who needs a story when an author perfectly captures a concept such as the world of mind time and the world of linear time and their relation to each other? For both are related to an inner and ceaseless reality.
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