Study Guide

To the Lighthouse Part 1, Chapter 10

By Virginia Woolf

Part 1, Chapter 10

  • Cam (the temper tantrum daughter, or "Cam the Wicked") runs past, almost knocking over the easel. She ignores everyone who tries to get her attention: Mr. Bankes, her father, her mother.
  • Mrs. Ramsay is stressing because Minta Doyle and Paul Rayley have not come back from their walk. She wants to know if they’re going to get married. Her son, Andrew, is with them as well.
  • James tugs on Mrs. Ramsay to remind her to continue reading.
  • As she reads, Mrs. Ramsay continues thinking about Minta Doyle, and recalls her obligations to Minta’s parents, who she has nicknamed the Owl and the Poker.
  • Mrs. Ramsay remembers Mrs. Doyle accusing her of manipulation.
  • Then Mrs. Ramsay thinks about her children. She doesn’t want them to get older.
  • Basically, she thinks James is sensitive and full of promise; Cam is a demon of wickedness; Prue is a beautiful angel; Andrew is mathematically gifted; Nancy and Roger and "wild creatures"; Rose is gifted with her hands; Jasper shoots birds; and she clearly never should have had so many children. OK, you got us. We added that last bit.
  • Mrs. Ramsay then carries on a mental argument with her husband over her belief that the children will never again be as happy as they are now, in their childhood.
  • Mrs. Ramsay’s thoughts then shift to Minta Doyle. She wonders briefly if she put too much pressure on Minta to marry Paul.
  • Night falls.
  • Mrs. Ramsay finishes reading James the story about the fisherman and his wife.
  • James turns his attention to the recently lit lighthouse.
  • Mrs. Ramsay worries that James will forever remember not going to the Lighthouse tomorrow.