Study Guide

To the Lighthouse Part 1, Chapter 18

By Virginia Woolf

Part 1, Chapter 18

  • As though Mrs. Ramsay’s departure is a signal, everyone gets up and scatters in different directions.
  • As Mrs. Ramsay walks off, she’s suffused with a sense of her own place in the stream of Time.
  • She goes into her children’s room and is irritated to find that James and Cam are still awake.
  • A pig skull has been nailed to the wall. Cam can’t sleep with it there and James gets mad if anyone touches it.
  • Mrs. Ramsay finally covers it up with her shawl and tells Cam stories until the girl falls asleep.
  • Mrs. Ramsay then turns her attention to James, who asks if they are going to the Lighthouse tomorrow. Mrs. Ramsay says no, but that they will go on the next time the weather is good.
  • Mrs. Ramsay leaves the room and encounters Prue, Minta, and Paul.
  • Prue looks at her mother and feels very proud. She says they are thinking of going to the beach to watch the waves.
  • Mrs. Ramsay suddenly turns into a giggling teenager. She tells them to go after making sure they have a watch. (They do, indeed, have a watch: a beautiful one belonging to Paul.)
  • Mrs. Ramsay expresses a wish to go with them, but something holds her back.
  • She goes into a room where her husband is reading.