Study Guide

To the Lighthouse Part 1, Chapter 14

By Virginia Woolf

Part 1, Chapter 14

  • (This entire chapter takes place within parentheses. And there are (parentheses within parentheses), which we will analyze later. Just note them for now and say "weird."
  • We’re in Nancy’s viewpoint. She went (reluctantly) with the others after Minta gave her a pleading look.
  • Nancy and Minta hold hands. More accurately, Minta keeps reaching for Nancy’s hand.
  • Nancy is understandably confused. What the heck does Minta want?
  • Andrew notes that Minta wears sensible clothes. (Thereafter, he states that "she wore short skirts"… and before you ask, we’re analyzing that later. Not now.)
  • Minta is sensible about everything, except bulls. For some reason she reacts to them the same way most women react to mice.
  • Minta sits on the edge of a cliff and sings the song, "Damn your eyes." Everyone else joins in.
  • They (in case you forget: Paul, Minta, Nancy, and Andrew) get to the beach.
  • Andrew and Nancy, being like third and fourth wheels, head out in opposite directions as soon as they reach the beach in order to give the couple some privacy.
  • Nancy settles down with a tide pool and imagines that the pool is a giant sea, all the little minnows are ferocious sharks, and that she’s… um… there’s no delicate way to put this, but, God.
  • She plays with giving them life and death, light and dark, etc., and sits there and broods (actually, she’s just thinking, but with a side of sulking thrown in).
  • Andrew yells that the tide is coming in, and Nancy runs away from the sea – right into Paul and Minta getting their mack on.
  • Andrew and Nancy get really awkward as they put their socks and shoes on.
  • As they get ready to walk back, Minta freaks out because she lost her grandmother’s brooch. Everyone helps her look for it, but the tide is rising.
  • Nancy gets the sense that Minta is crying for more than just the loss of the brooch.
  • They mark the place where Minta was sitting, and Paul silently swears to wake up early tomorrow and go look for it.
  • Paul brags to Minta that he’s so good at finding lost items.
  • Paul and Minta walk ahead of Nancy and Andrew. Paul can’t wait to find Mrs. Ramsay and tell her everything. Asking Minta to marry him was, to paraphrase, "the worst moment ever," and Paul sort-of-kind-of-and-basically blames Mrs. Ramsay for making him do it.
  • They get to the house, which is lit up for dinner, and Paul silently determines not to make a fool of himself.
  • End parenthesis!)