To the Lighthouse by Su Reid (auth.)

By Su Reid (auth.)

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In the course of this argument he sees Mrs Ramsay as representing a search for security through mystic union with nature (Hussey, 1986, pp. 31-2), and Lily's picture as any artist's struggle to assert a coherent vision with which to confront chaos (p. 73). Several critics have turned instead to classical mythology, and to the readings of this mythology by Freud and J ung. This method of investigation of the possibilities of the text has generated far more ideas than the attempts at religious readings, and especially it has opened a debate about Mrs Ramsay which leads eventually into recent feminist debate.

When humans are gone, 'Time Passes' seems to indicate, there will still be a witness, an inhuman one, of the desolation (Miller, 1983, pp. 178-81). But there is something even more desolate to come. The remaining voice is not, says Miller, after all so impersonal, so unhuman. On the contrary, 'Time Passes' is full of personifications - of the airs, the lighthouse beam, the plants in the garden. 'Time Passes', Miller says, draws attention to the habit of personification, and so to the way in which ordinary language itself always personifies, always makes one think of objects - winds, houses, 'Mr Ramsay', 'Lily' - as if they were people.

He wrote in his Introduction that reading Virginia Woolf is like being immersed so deeply in moving liquid that one can gain only muffled impressions of people and things (N aremore, 1973, p. 2), and gave a detailed account of To the Lighthouse, describing how this effect is created (pp. 112-50). He discusses the single narrative voice (pp. 113-18), and the way it supposedly conveys the characters' unarticulated feelings while obscuring the details of setting and dialogue (pp. 126--32); and the lack of interest in the characters' physical appearances (pp.

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