To the Lighthouse Essay

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Dougherty is a doctoral candidate at Tufts University. In the following essay, she examines the characterization of Lily Briscoe in To the Lighthouse.

In an essay, Virginia Woolf wrote, "[e]xamine for a moment an ordinary mind on an ordinary day. The mind receives a myriad of impressions-trivial, fantastic, evanescent, or engraved with the sharpness of steel." Woolf s character Lily Briscoe struggles with the myriad and momentary nature of reality throughout Woolf s fifth novel, To the Lighthouse. As Suzanne Raitt notes in Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, Lily shares "the novel's strange obsession with solutions." Lily tries to find a shape within the chaotic nature of existence and achieve an artistic vision that will give her a sense of the meaning of life. In the course of her struggle, many of the novel's themes are illuminated: the nature of reality, the search for completion, the role...

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This section contains 2,008 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the To the Lighthouse Study Guide
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To the Lighthouse from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.