To The Lighthouse by Virginia Wolf

Reading Time: 3 minutes


To the Lighthouse is a story in three parts. In Part I the Ramsay family have traveled as usual to spend the summer at their large but somewhat shabby summerhouse on the Isle of Skye. In addition to Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay there are their eight children and several houseguests. Mr. Ramsay is a scholar and a philosopher of some note. Many people, particularly students, clamor to be in his presence. This particular summer there is a student working on his dissertation, an artist, a young couple just on the verge of falling in love. There is also a very homesick Swedish girl who is working as a maid. The visitors have no strong connection to the Ramsay family or to each other, but for this short time they are certainly influenced by the force of them, especially Mrs. Ramsay.


As the story opens, the Ramsay’s youngest son who is seven years old is dreaming of making a trip to the lighthouse that beams its light from a small island nearby. Mrs. Ramsay does from time to time visit the island and takes supplies for the family that lives there. But weather conditions have to be just right for rowing, and that isn’t often the case.


The second part of the book tells a l