Study Guide

To the Lighthouse Identity

By Virginia Woolf


Mrs. Ramsay, in particular, is very conscious of her identity, constantly interrogating herself and her character. She adopts a very subordinate position when in her interactions with other people, which means that her own true self is frequently stifled. But – good news – when there are no people around to pander to, her own private self has room to explore. Lily also contemplates her identity often.

Questions About Identity

  1. What the deal with the "wedge-shaped core of darkness?" (1.11.1)
  2. Check out the "glove’s twisted finger" passage (1.9.8 – 1.9.9). What conclusions did Lily come to? What are the bases for those conclusions?
  3. Is Mrs. Ramsay’s drive and desire to continually lavish attention on others merely a mechanism to downplay herself?

Chew on This

Mrs. Ramsay is exceedingly self-aware.