Study Guide

To the Lighthouse Marriage

By Virginia Woolf


Mrs. Ramsay really wants everyone to get married – particularly women. She herself is in a marriage that at least one character holds up as an ideal. Interestingly enough, her marriage to Mr. Ramsay is actually the only real marriage we see in the novel. We do, however, "hear about" (via Lily’s memory) how the Rayley marriage, which Mrs. Ramsay had encouraged so much, worked out – it was unsuccessful.

Questions About Marriage

  1. Who wears the pants in the Ramsay marriage?
  2. What makes for a successful marriage in the world of To the Lighthouse?
  3. Why did Mrs. Ramsay have such a hard time telling her husband about the greenhouse bill?
  4. Why does Mrs. Ramsay read to James, The Fisherman and his Wife?

Chew on This

Mrs. Ramsay is the more powerful partner in her marriage.