Friday, July 8, 2011

To the Lighthouse by Virgina Woolf

John Adams was certainly an easier read than To the Lighthouse, at least in my opinion. It is so darn cerebral I find my brain aching just trying to follow all the wandering, meandering thoughts, and inferences.
For example, the glove stuffed into the corner of the sofa, 'known from it's twisted finger'.
An interesting way of pondering what was the essential spirit of Mrs Ramsay; what makes her recognizable as the glove is recognizable by it's twisted finger when found in the sofa.
I had to reread that when I came back to the glove reference on the following page(50) to be sure I had understood where she was going with that. But that is simply one of many paragraph sentences that I went back to reread.
The table in the tree, anyone? Pg.23

I found it amusing that on page 17, we are in the thoughts of Mrs Ramsay when she remembers that Lily is painting her from the lawn and that she must keep her head in the same position for the picture, but then we discover that Lily has painted her and James but they are simply a triangular shape.
And Mrs Ramsay who 'smiles at thought of Lily'. Would Lily never marry because of her 'little Chinese eyes and puckered-up face' or because she took her painting and thus her independence too seriously?

My favorite part of this chapter-as I found it really amusing and so perfectly described this character for me- was the silly self-centered Charles Tansley with his visions of grandeur. How he imagined himself 'gowned and hooded, walking in a procession. A professorship, a fellowship'- with Mrs Ramsay looking on. (pg.11)

I'm enjoying the book so far, except for the fact that I feel I am just outside of it, just missing something. I feel I need to be there with them in order to get the full picture. Although at times I do feel I am there with them. See page 8 and the description of the house. Perfect.


  1. It's very true -- this is a cerebral read. I almost wonder if we are supposed to be reading it super carefully or not? I have decided to just go and not stop to try to figure things out because when I do, I get confused. I almost think it's supposed to be a little confusing and jumbled - and that what we are really supposed to get/stick with will be pointed out. She seems to slow down sometimes and write more clearly when something important is happening.

  2. You're noticing a lot more detail than I am...I keep getting distracted by the semicolons, and the arrogance of Mr. Ramsey.

  3. Wallace, I agree that it's probably better to just go with it. That's how I'll be reading it this week.

    Softdrink, So much for the details I'm getting. I have barely noticed the arrogance of Mr. Ramsay. It seems I am the only one who did not pick up on that! I thought he must just be a little depressed and probably someone with anxiety regarding his profession and his children. I'm going to pay more attention to him in the next chapters.