Study Guide

To the Lighthouse Friendship

By Virginia Woolf


Friendship plays a secondary role to love in the novel, but for Lily Briscoe, friendship is the most she has ever truly wanted from a man. The other friendship we see (retrospectively) is between Mr. Ramsay and Mr. Bankes. It failed.

Questions About Friendship

  1. Why are Lily and William friends only? Could Mrs. Ramsay have persuaded them to become more than that?
  2. What is William Bankes’s attitude towards friendship?
  3. What is the role of friendship in this novel?

Chew on This

Given time, Mrs. Ramsay could have persuaded Lily and William to marry.