Study Guide

To the Lighthouse Part 3, Chapter 5

By Virginia Woolf

Part 3, Chapter 5

  • Standing at the edge of the lawn, Lily Briscoe finds the boat that Mr. Ramsay, Cam, and James are traveling in. She regrets not giving him her sympathy. Since she has never been able to praise him to his face, Lily’s relationship to him is neutral. It lacks a certain sexual element that infused Minta’s relationship with Mr. Ramsay.
  • As she paints, Lily daydreams a little about sitting next to Mrs. Ramsay on the beach.
  • Then Lily thinks about Minta and Paul Rayley. Their marriage fell apart after a year, but then Lily visited them last summer and saw that they now have a very straightforward, amicable relationship. They’re not in love – Paul is getting it on with another woman, one who shares his views on taxes – but at least they are good friends.
  • Lily wonders what Mrs. Ramsay would think of the marriage.
  • Lily feels triumphant over Mrs. Ramsay’s old-fashioned values. She (Lily) had never married, nor had William Bankes, although Mrs. Ramsay did try her best to get them together.
  • Lily thinks for a moment about the idea of being "in love," but remembers the Rayleys’ marriage.
  • Lily and William Bankes are, however, extremely good friends.
  • Lily wants to talk to Mr. Carmichael about Mrs. Ramsay, but ends up (unexpectedly) crying and calling out Mrs. Ramsay’s name.