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Lighthouse and Water as Symbols
Transcript of Lighthouse and Water as Symbols
2. What does the journey to the lighthouse in part III symbolize?
3. Which character symbolizes the lighthouse and/or the water the best?
4. What is the purpose of Woolf's use of symbolism?
5. What other objects does Woolf to symbolize the characters?
To stir the pot: Is there any external object that symbolizes you? How? Peace Human Ignorance Life and Reality Light and Dark Popular in Modernist Literature
Life and Reality
Light and dark Light and dark
Memory Lighthouse "the whole bay spread before them and Mrs Ramsay could not help exclaiming, 'Oh, how beautiful!' For the great plateful of the blue water was before her" (16). "they came there regularly every evening drawn by some need...gave to their bodies even some sort of physical relief" (24). "messages of peace breathed from the sea to the shore" (162). "he reached the edge of the lawn and looked out on the bay beneath" (51). "lt was his fate, his peculiarity, whether he wished it or not, to come out thus on a spit of land which the sea is slowly eating away, and there to stand, like a desolate seabird, alone. it was his power, his gift, suddenly to shed all superfluities, to shrink and diminish so that he looked barer and felt sparer, even physically, yet lost none of his intensity of mind, and so to stand on his little ledge facing the dark of human ignorance, how we know nothing and the sea eats away the ground we stand on- that was his fate, his gift." (51-2). "He was bearing down upon them. Now he stopped dead and stood looking in silence at the sea. Now he had turned away again" (54). "that the monotonous fall of the waves on the beach, which for the most part beat a measured and soothing tattoo to her thoughts and seemed consolingly to repeat over and over again as she sat with the children the words of some old cradle song, murmured by nature, “I am guarding you—I am your support,” but at other times suddenly and unexpectedly, especially when her mind raised itself slightly from the task actually in hand, had no such kindly meaning, but like a ghostly roll of drums remorselessly beat the measure of life, made one think of the destruction of the island and its engulfment in the sea, and warned her whose day had slipped past in one quick doing after another that it was all ephemeral as a rainbow—this sound which had been obscured and concealed under the other sounds suddenly thundered hollow in her ears and made her look up with an impulse of terror" (19-20) "Never did anybody look so sad. Bitter and black half-way down, in the darkness, in the shaft which ran from the sunlight to the depths, perhaps a tear formed; a tear fell; the waters swayed this way and that, received it, and were at rest." (25) "First, the pulse of colour flooded the bay with blue, and the heart expanded with it and the body swam, only the next instant to be checked and chilled by the prickly blackness on the ruffled waves...so that one had to watch for it and it was a delight when it came, a fountain of white water; and then, while one waited for that, one watched, on the pale semicircular beach, wave after wave shedding again and again smoothly a film of mother of pearl." (24) "to that fabled land where our brightest hopes are extinguished, our frail barks founder in darkness...'But it may be fine—I expect it will be fine,' said Mrs. Ramsay" (6). "his eyes fixed on the storm, trying to the end to pierce the darkness, he would die standing" (41). "His own little light would shine, not very brightly, for a year or two, and would then be merged in some bigger light, and that in a bigger still" (42). "It was sympathy he wanted, to be assured of his genius, first of all, and then to be taken within the circle of life, warmed and soothed" (44-5). ''now all the candle were lit, and the faces on the both sides of the table were brought nearer by the candle light" (112). "There it was before her--life. Life, she thought--but she did not finish her thought. She took a look at life, for she had a clear sense of it there, something real, something private, which she shared neither with her children nor her husband. [...] she was on one side, and life was on another." (70) "she looked across the bay, and there, sure enough, coming regularly across the waves first two quick strokes and then one long steady stroke, was the light of the Lighthouse. It had been lit' (72). "she looked at the steady light...which was so much her, yet so little her" (75). "But for all that she thought, watching it with fascination, hypnotized. As if it were stroking with its silver fingers some sealed vessel in her brain whose bursting would flood her with delight, she had known happiness, exquisite happiness, intense happiness, and it silvered the rough waves a little more brightly, as daylight faded, and the blue went out of the sea and it rolled in waves of pure lemon which curved and swelled and broke upon the beach and then the ecstasy burst in her eyes and waves of pure delight raced over the floor of her mind and she felt, it is enough! it is enough!" (75-6) "Everything became very close to one...Everything in the whole world seemed to stand still. The Lighthouse became immovable, and the line of the distant shore became fixed. The sun grew hotter and everybody seemed to come very close together and feels each other's presence, which had almost forgotten" (208). "No! the weather will be bad!" "Why do you have to ruin everything? Just as I'm getting along so well with Mom!" "No going to the Lighthouse, James," he said, as he stood by the window, speaking awkwardly, but trying in deference to Mrs. Ramsay to soften his voice into some semblance of geniality at least." (16) The Lighthouse was then a silvery, misty-looking tower with a yellow eye, that opened suddenly, and softly in the evening. Now — James looked at the Lighthouse. He could see the white-washed rocks; the tower, stark and straight; he could see that it was barred with black and white; he could see windows in it; he could even see washing spread on the rocks to dry. So that was the Lighthouse, was it? No, the other was also the Lighthouse. For nothing was simply one thing. The other Lighthouse was true too" (211) Beacon - Control, Light, change
Light tower - unchanging O V E R V I E W "power sweeping savagely in" (40).
"a fountain of white water" (24). "and to have no letters or newspapers, and to see nobody; if you were married, not to see your wife, not to know how your children were—if they were ill, if they had fallen down and broken their legs or arms;" (7) "When darkness fell, the stroke of the Lighthouse, which had laid itself with such authority upon the carpet in the darkness, tracing its pattern, came now in the softer light of spring mixed with moonlight gliding gently as if it laid its caress and lingered stealthily and looked and came lovingly again" Perception