LiteratureTo the Lighthouse

To the Lighthouse and Stream of Consciousness

6 Mins read

The phrase “Stream of Consciousness” was coined by William James to explain the flow of ideas of the waking mind. It is an individual’s ideas and aware reactions to occasions, perceived as a continuous stream. In literature it’s a literary style through which a character’s ideas, emotions, and reactions are depicted in a continuous stream uninterrupted by objective description or typical dialogue. The associated phrase “interior monologue” is used to explain the inside movement of consciousness in a character’s thoughts. The use of devices of the stream of consciousness and the interior monologue marks a revolution within the type of the novel because by these devices the writer can characterize the flux of a personality’s ideas, impressions, and feelings and reminiscences, usually with none logical sequence.

According to Virginia Woolf, the traditional novel didn’t express life adequately. She was of the opinion that life was a shower of ever-failing atoms of experience, and never a story line. Life, she mentioned, was a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the start of consciousness to finish. She tried to experiment with the identical technique in her novel, ’To the Lighthouse’. In which the characters reveal themselves very much in the identical way. Although she depicts character by the inside consciousness of the individual whom we meet on this novel however she herself stays the controlling intelligence, talking within the third person. While she very seldom slips in feedback of her own, she stays the narrator, telling us what’s going on within the varied minds.

Virginia Woolf reveals us a specific individual on this novel not solely via the consciousness of that individual himself or herself, but additionally by the consciousness of the other individuals. We are given the interior monologues of the assorted characters on this novel, and it’s largely by the dual devices of stream of consciousness and the interior monologue that we come to know the assorted characters. Thus we see Mrs. Ramsay not solely by means of her personal consciousness however by the consciousness of Mr. Ramsey, the child James, Lily Briscoe, Mr. Tansley and Mr. Bankes. Similarly we come to know Mr. Ramsay not solely via his personal consciousness but additionally by the consciousness of Mrs. Ramsay, the younger James, Lily Briscoe, and Mr. Bankes. In reality, each character within the novel is offered to us through his personal consciousness and likewise by the consciousness of the other characters. At the identical time, the characters are often offered to us instantly by the all-knowing writer of the novel, and likewise typically bits of conversation or dialogue between the characters.

Read About: To the Lighthouse; Role of Women

Mrs. Woolf’s Concern in writing novels was not merely to relate a story because the older novelists did, however to find and document life because the people really feel who live it. Hence it’s she rejected the traditional strategy of narration and adopted a new approach more suited to her purposes. It is for that reason that in ‘To The Lighthouse’ she didn’t inform a story, within the sense of a sequence of occasions, and has targeting a small variety of characters, whose nature and emotions are represented to us largely by their interior monologues. In order to seize the inside actuality, the reality about life, she has tried to signify the shifting current of life and the person’s consciousness of the fleeting motion, and secondly, also to pick from this current and manage it so that the novel might penetrate beneath the surface actuality and will give to the reader a way of understanding and completeness.

The readers will not be positioned straight throughout the minds of characters, as within the modern psychological novel, however the central intelligence of the novelist is consistently at work because the narrator, controlling and organizing the material, and illuminating it with its feedback, and order emerges out of chaos. The interior monologues of the completely different characters are, no doubt, given, however the novelist, the central intelligence, can be consistently busy, organizing the material and illuminating it by frequent feedback. In this respect Mrs. Woolf’s strategy of narration is kind of completely different from that of the “Stream of Consciousness” novelists. Far from being a stream of Consciousness novel, ’To the Lighthouse’ is the objective account of a central intelligence that approaches and assumes the characters. Consciousness, however doesn’t develop into fully identified with anybody consciousness. This central intelligence is thus free to remark upon the whole in what appears a very impersonal manner, as this brief passage reveals:

“It is a triumph’ said Mr. Bankes, laying his knife down for a moment. He had eaten attentively. It was rich; it was tender. It was perfectly cooked. How did she manage these things in the depths of the country? He asked her. She was a wonderful woman. All his love, all his reverence, had returned; and she knew it.”

“It is a French recipe of my grandmother’s said Mrs. Ramsay, Speaking with a ring of great pleasure in her voice. Of course it was French. What passes for cookery in England is an abominations; it is pulling cabbages in water. It is roasting meat until it is like leather. It is cutting off the delicious skins of vegetables. ’In which’, said Mr. Bankes, “All the virtue of vegetables is contained” Here the central intelligence is reporting a part of the dinner Conversation.

Read About: To the Lighthouse; Themes

Suspense and Curiosity are one other side of Mrs. Woolf’s technique of narration. She taking us into the center of scene; Mrs. Ramsay’s opening comment is the reply to unspoken question, which we’ve to provide by choosing up clues from what follows. The reader’s natural curiosity thus turns into involvement. We wonder who these individuals are, what they’re speaking about and so forth. As we learn on, prompted by this need to know, we start to acknowledge a pattern within the narrative at same time as we assimilate names, information, concepts. Then, too, the pattern begins to determine itself; the pattern that’s, of Conversation and response, of the particular phrases within the first person and the present tense, and the reflections of the characters within the third person and the past tense. This violence of feeling is seen first within the child, James and appears natural to the exaggeration of childhood; we’re thus ready in an appropriate manner for the feelings of the grownup character, Tempe real by age and experience, however made extra complicated too.

The third person narration is a really common novel device utilized by Virginia Woolf. She may be very careful to mock her route of the narrative as little observed as attainable. Her use of direct speech for the interior monologues of her characters makes it straightforward for her to work into these psychological soliloquies various statements and concepts that are outside the range of information of character she is coping with.

When, for instance, firstly, she describes the emotions of James about his father, she moves from what the child is pondering to what Mrs. Ramsay habitually did and stated, via impersonal sentences:

“Had there been an ate 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. Such were the extremes of emotion that Mr. Ramsay excited in his children’s breasts by his mere presence : Standing: disillusioning his son and casting ridicule upon his wife, who was ten thousand times better in every way than he was, but also with some secret conceit at his own accuracy of judgment. What he said was true. It was always true. He Was incapable of untruth; never tampered with a fact; never altered a disagreeable word to suit the pleasure or convenience of any mortal being, least of all of his own children, who sprung from his loins, should be aware from childhood that life is difficult…….”

We can see the 2 currents of ideas flowing collectively. Just as this third person narration makes it attainable for Virginia Woolf to maneuver easily from one character to a different, so within the novel as a whole it’s a unifying Principle.

The completion of the circle is one other quality of Virginia Woolf. If the arrival on the lighthouse and the completion of Lily Briscoe’s image fill the circle of the guide, and if Time Passes forms a type of landing between the upward actions of The Window and the downward, resolving actions of The Lighthouse, we discover right here the identical structural design. The Part I conforms to this design. Section II, when the fairy tale is completed and James has gone, a perfect moment, wealthy with solitude and revelation, actually forms a peak that communicates its exaltation to the second half of the chapter, which nonetheless, by no means reaches the identical depth at this may moment.

Read About: To the Lighthouse; Symbolism

To sum up, Virginia Woolf has employed the lighthouse as a symbol and it has quite a few undertones of meaning, and serves the aim of a unifying issue within the novel. The action moves on regular constructional lines from scene to scene and from the thoughts of 1 individual to that of one other. These shifts from one consciousness to a different and these actions are made further straightforward by permitting each incident to happen in a close knit homogeneous world. ’To The Lighthouse’ is a masterpiece of literary work. It is an organic complete. It is a superb work of art which totally deserves the praises which were lavished on it.

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