Study Guide

To the Lighthouse Part 1, Chapter 9

By Virginia Woolf

Part 1, Chapter 9

  • Lily and Mr. Bankes criticize Mr. Ramsay as Lily puts away her brushes.
  • Lily is about to criticize Mrs. Ramsay as well when she sees the look of complete adoration that Mr. Bankes, age 60, turns on Mrs. Ramsay.
  • Watching Mrs. Ramsay gives Mr. Bankes the same feeling he gets when solving a scientific problem.
  • As Lily wipes her brushes, she is cheered by the thought that people can love this way.
  • She looks at her picture and nearly has a nervous breakdown because it’s bad!
  • Lily recalls Mr. Tansley’s words that women can’t paint or write.
  • Lily joins Mr. Bankes in staring at Mrs. Ramsay.
  • Lily begins to think about Mrs. Ramsay, considering what comprises Mrs. Ramsay’s unique identity.
  • Mr. Bankes stops watching Mrs. Ramsay and looks at Lily’s painting.
  • Lily braces herself. Mr. Bankes asks the meaning of the purple triangle.
  • Lily says that it’s meant to represent Mrs. Ramsay reading to James.
  • They talk briefly about light and dark and composition.
  • Lily feels that she has shared something very intimate with Mr. Bankes (and without taking off her clothes, too, wow!).