To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf Essay

Total Length: 652 words ( 2 double-spaced pages)

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Setting is a predominant feature in Virginia Woolf's The Lighthouse. In Chapter One, the author establishes the setting as the core feature of the novel. The titular lighthouse becomes a symbol, and it is also an indelible feature of the Isle of Skye landscape. In Chapter One, the author also introduces the readers to the protagonists of the novel and its supporting characters. The Ramsays, Mrs. And Mr. Ramsay, are entertaining guests and family members at their summer home. Chapter One begins with a view through the eyes of a child, James. James is the young son of the Ramsay's, and he is excited to see the lighthouse. "Since he belonged, even at the age of six, to that great clan which cannot keep this feeling separate from that, but must let future prospects…cloud what is actually at hand," (3). Here, James hears his mother's voice and it is clear that he prefers her to the father. His young mind has created a preference based on emotional input and feeing alone, on intuition. This feeling will become the central feature of the novel.

There are remarkable parallels between the first chapter of Virginia Woolf's novel and the first chapter of James Joyce's Ulysses.
The tone and style are similar, as both novelists use a surrealist edge to elevate the narrative beyond the delivery of mere facts and storytelling. This is the intersection between prose and poetry.

In Chapter One of Ulysses, which is entitled "Telemachus," the main character Stephen Dedalus is introduced along with his friend Buck Mulligan. The two banter about in conversation. There is a variety of odd imagery tossed about including the mysterious death of Dedalus's mother. The imagery and symbolism of the mother and son relationship feature prominently in both To the Lighthouse and in Ulysses. Furthermore, there is imagery of lighthouses and the sea in both Woolf's and Joyce's first chapters. Both chapters have cloud symbolism as well. In the first chapter of The Lighthouse, young James's thoughts "cloud what is actually at hand," (p. 3). Clouds and weather are what the father sees, and what keeps James from his beloved lighthouse. His mother is the emblem of light piercing through the clouds, as she is the person who promises James that he can see the lighthouse. In the first chapter of Ulysses, "A cloud begun to cover the sun slowly, wholly, shadowing the….....

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