Had there been an axe handy, a poker, or any weapon that would have gashed a hole in his father's breast and killed him, there and then, James would have seized it.
James’s feelings toward his father in Chapter I of The Window bring an almost jarring violence to an otherwise domestic scene. Mr. Ramsay’s delight in smashing James’s hopes is world-shattering to James, an attack that he wishes to respond to with physical violence. The extreme nature of his feelings highlights that the stakes in going to the lighthouse for James throughout The Window have an existential dimension. James is discovering whether the world is a dark, rational, exacting place like his father suggests or a place of hope and possibility, a view his mother tries to preserve.
"My dear, stand still," she said, for in his jealousy, not liking to serve as measuring block for the Lighthouse keeper's little boy, James fidgeted purposely.
This exchange in Chapter V of The Window shows James’s possessiveness over Mrs. Ramsay as she attempts to measure the stocking she knits for the lighthouse keeper’s son. James keenly feels the effects of his mother giving so much of herself to other people, particularly his father, leading him to insecurity and jealousy. This small outburst, along with his need for soothing, and the sensitivity that Mrs. Ramsay sees in him, seem to hint that James has more in common with Mr. Ramsay than he may like to admit.
Whatever he did… that he would fight, that he would track down and stamp out--tyranny, despotism, he called it--making people do what they did not want to do, cutting off their right to speak.
James has these thoughts in Chapter IX of The Lighthouse, as he fumes at his father for forcing him on this journey he did not wish to go on. The years of living with Mr. Ramsay alone has transformed James’s anger in an interesting, even productive way. He identifies his father’s selfish behavior as wrong, a microcosm of political tyranny, and he wishes to be a force against it. We can see Mrs. Ramsay’s influence in James’s attitude. Where she worked to improve society through charity, James envisions himself as standing up with words and policy.
He was so pleased that he was not going to let anybody share a grain of his pleasure. His father had praised him.
In Chapter XIII of The Lighthouse, James receives the first praise he has ever received from Mr. Ramsay for steering the ship well. Despite all of James’s anger and hatred toward his father, he still craves his approval, a contradiction that is not incongruous with the novel’s way of allowing multiple things to be true at once. James despises his father’s despotic behavior, resents him for taking his mother’s attention, occasionally behaves like his father, and also longs for his kindness and acceptance.