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To the Lighthouse

To the Lighthouse


by Virginia Woolf

To the Lighthouse Theme of Gender

Well, it’s a Woolf novel. Gender figures in all the chauvinistic remarks that the men make, and the protective tone towards men that Mrs. Ramsay takes. Also, Mrs. Ramsay is held up as an ideal of womanhood. Lily Briscoe deviates from this ideal because she is not interested in marriage or comforting and sympathizing with every male character in the novel.

Questions About Gender

  1. Which men in To the Lighthouse have the most positive view of women? Which men have the most negative view?
  2. Is Mrs. Ramsay ultimately a triumphant figure of femininity or a downtrodden (and delusional) one?
  3. Is Cam more of a traditional Mrs. Ramsay-like woman or a rebellious Lily-like woman?
  4. What’s up with the whole women being fertile and men being barren thing?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

In To the Lighthouse, the male characters that look down upon women are the most dependent on women.

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