Virginia Woolf, the British author who made efforts towards making an original contribution to the structure of the novel, was an eminent writer of feminist essays, a critic writer in The Times Lierary Supplement and the prominent person in the Bloomsbury group. Virginia Woolf was born as the daughter of Sir Leslie Stephen and Julia Jackson Duckworth in London. Her father, Sir Leslie Stephen was an eminent literary critic and her mother Julia Jackson Duckworth, belonged to the family of Duckworth Publishing. (Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) - in full Adeline Virginia Woolf, original surname Stephen) It was the second marriage for both of her parents as they were married earlier to other partners. Her father had earlier married to Thackeray, a daughter of a novelist and her mother had earlier married to Herbert Duckowrth, who was a barrister. Julia and Leslie Stephen in their subsequent marriage had four children named, Vanessa, Thoby, Virginia and Adrian. Virginia witnessed herself as having being descended from a unique male and female inheritance. Virginia had her education at home and it was provided by her father and she lived at the family home at Hyde Park Gate. She had an unrestricted access to the vast library of her father that made her from the early age to become a writer. She never had been to school and so her education was considered to be sketchy. (Virginia Woolf (1882-1941): A Short Biography)
The unexpected death of her mother during 1895 was a mental shock to her. (Virginia Woolf (1882-1941): A Short Biography) Later in 1904, after the death of her father made her to have a second breakdown and she had to move with her sister and two brothers to the house in Bloomsbury. The inheritance of £2,500 from one of her aunts brought some improvement in her economic condition. And Woolf started writing for the Times Literary Supplement from 1905. (Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) - in full Adeline Virginia Woolf, original surname Stephen) Thalland House in St. Ives, Cornwall, and St. Ives had a great role in the sphere of the imagination of Virginia, where she used to spend her long summer vacations. The required environment for most of her novels was provided by London and/or St. Ives. Virginia was married in 1912 to Leonard Woolf, a political theorist, an ex-administrator of Ceylon, which is the present-day Sri Lanka. Their marriage took place in St. Pancras Registry Office on 10 August 1912. Both of them decided to engage in writing and journalism and earn money for their living. (Virginia Woolf (1882-1941): A Short Biography)
Virginia had started writing her first novel The Voyage Out, from 1908 and the novel was initially to be known as Melymbrosia. She completed this in 1913; however, it could not be published due to another serious mental breakdown during her post married life. It had to wait till 1915 to be published by Duckworth & Co. Later during the year 1917, a small hand printing press was brought by Woolf so as to adopt printing as a hobby and also as a curative mode for Virginia. During this time Virginia and her husband were residing in Richmond and the Hogarth Press was being named after their house. A couple of experimental short stories, The Mark on the Wall and Kew Gardens were written and published by Virginia during this time. The hand printing was continued till 1932; however, in the meantime they gradually came to known more as publishers instead of being printers. One of her collections The Night was brought out in 1919 that depicted a realistic story about the lives of the two friends, Katherine and Mary. Her first collection of short stories Monday or Tuesday was published during 1921, a major part of which was being regarded as experimental in nature. The Hogarth Press was commercialized by around 1922. From 1921 onwards, Virginia always published her writings with the Press, against a few limited editions which was an exception. (Virginia Woolf (1882-1941): A Short Biography)
In the year the novel Jacob's Room was brought out which was based on the life and death of her brother Toby. Later Mrs. Dalloway was brought out in 1925 and subsequently the novels To the Lighthouse in the year 1927 and The Waves in the year 1931. Such works brought recognition to Woolf as one of the eminent writers of modernism. (Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) - in full Adeline Virginia Woolf, original surname Stephen) Later Virginia brought out Flush, a fictional biography of the dog of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, in the year 1933. The Years was brought out in 1937 and it was considered to be a family saga and was very unconventional. It could become the best seller in America but had involved a long and strenuous writing. Later in 1938, Virginia brought out Three Guineas, which was considered as a successor to A Room of One's Own. In 1940 she published a biography of her friend Roger Fry who had died in the year 1934. Virginia had almost completed her last novel Between the Acts before she committed suicide. (Virginia Woolf (1882-1941): A Short Biography) On March 28, 1941, she filled her pockets with full of stones and jumped into the River Ouse near her Sussex home after being attacked with the final mental illness.
Thus Woolf was very creative as an essayist. During her lifetime, she could get about 500 essays to be published in periodicals and collections, the work of which was initiated in 1905. She adopted the dialogic nature of style in her essays and her reader mostly is directly addressed by means of a conversational tone. Many of her writings are autobiographical in nature. The rejection of the authoritative voice as a style had associated her essays to the convention of Montaigne. (Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) - in full Adeline Virginia Woolf, original surname Stephen)
2. Summarizing the novel and identifying the characters
The novel To the Light House is a depiction of the factuality of the daily experiences of life of a British family. The novel depicts the story of a calm and motherly Mrs. Ramsay, the sad but ridiculous Ramsay, their children and various guests are spending their vacation. In the first section of the novel, Mrs. Ramsay was portrayed as the thread through which most of the characters are active and linked. The wish of Mrs. Ramsay's son to visit the Lighthouse for spending vacations has become the coordinating momentum from where evolves the entire story. The narration of the incidents which take place on one fine noon almost covered fifty percent of the novel, while the incidents of the subsequent one decade are briefed in a couple of pages. Towards the middle part of the novel, the Lighthouse is being shown as completely unoccupied, to inform us that several people in the novel has passed away. The last part of the novel describes how after the death of the main character in the story, the other family members and their friends ultimately move into the Lighthouse.
In the entire story of the Light House, Virginia utilized her characters to illustrate her real conflicting thoughts about the people and the world around her. The central character in the novel is Mrs. Ramsay who is being represented to be a maternal loving character who takes care of others. Mrs. Ramsay is also portrayed as a good-looking lady who likes to entertain her guests and likes to treat them with dignity when they arrive to have lunch or dinner at their house. She is a sincere and dedicated wife to Mr. Ramsay, but several times she faces problems with his diverse thoughts and acts. But Mrs. Ramsay ultimately succeeds over those problematic days and represents a character who tries to create an important and long-standing effect.
Mr. Ramsay has been portrayed to be an eminent scholar who plays the role of a husband to the central character of the novel. He has great affection towards his family members, but most of the time he does not try to show his feelings for them. He recognizes the fact about his luck to possess such a good family and despite that he often tries to provide severe treatment to his family, especially his wife by requiring her continuous love, co-operation and attention. He is being portrayed as egoistic and self-motivated, as a result of the continuous worries associated with his personal life and career. Mr. Ramsay is frightened about the thought that he may not be accepted in the years to come.
Andrew Ramsay is the eldest of the sons of the family, who is efficient, capable and goal-oriented. Jasper Ramsay and Roger Ramsay who the other two sons of the family take pleasure in shooting the wildlife. James Ramsay is the youngest amongst the sons of the family, who adores Mrs. Ramsay greatly, and has hatred feelings for Mr. Ramsay. Prue Ramsay is the beautiful eldest daughter the…