Study Guide

To the Lighthouse Part 3, Chapter 2

By Virginia Woolf

Part 3, Chapter 2

  • Mr. Ramsay looks at Lily and notes that she has shriveled. He also notes that Mrs. Ramsay liked Lily, that he, too, likes Lily, and that Lily has still not married Mr. Bankes.
  • Mr. Ramsay is having a Moment. In this Moment, he becomes hell bent on making the nearest woman give him something that he really, really needs. And desires.
  • Lily knows what he wants, and she’s nervous. She knows that basically any other woman in the world would be better able to give Mr. Ramsay what he wants.
  • Mr. Ramsay keeps making desperate plays to get it from Lily, but Lily seems incapable of giving it.
  • Finally Lily says something. She tells Mr. Ramsay that he has beautiful boots. This is not what Mr. Ramsay wanted, but he smiles anyway.
  • Mr. Ramsay goes off on the awesomeness of his boots, and then disses Lily’s method of shoelace tying. He shows her his method of shoelace tying, which is far superior.
  • Lily is finally, unexpectedly, ready to give Mr. Ramsay what he wants: sympathy.
  • James and Cam interrupt the shoelace tying party, looking serious.
  • The Ramsays go off on their expedition, leaving Lily feeling hollow inside.
  • As the Ramsays march off, Lily realizes that, essentially, Mr. Ramsay needs to feel awesome. All the time. And Mrs. Ramsay used to fill that role.
  • The gate bangs as the Ramsays go through it.