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1. To the Lighthouse opens
with a portrayal of the Oedipal struggle between James and Mr. Ramsay.
This conflict resounds throughout the book. How does the family
drama shape the book as a whole?
2. Conventional gender roles—and
more broadly, conventional social roles—present a major subject
of exploration in To the Lighthouse. Choose three
characters and describe how each approaches this subject. Do gender
roles play a part in the lives of the younger children?
3. What effect does the ocean
have on different characters at different times in the novel? Why,
for example, do the waves make Mrs. Ramsay sad?
4. What makes the “Time Passes”
section so different from the rest of the novel? Why do you think
Woolf chose such an unusual narrative approach for this section?
5. How does work function in
the novel? For example, how does Lily approach what she sees as
her work? How do Mr. Ramsay and Charles Tansley approach what they
see as their work?
Ace your assignments with our guide to To the Lighthouse!