To the Lighthouse

by Virginia Woolf

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The Window, Chapters 1 and 2 Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. Where does the novel take place?

2. Why is six-year-old James disappointed?

3. How do Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay differ in their treatment of James?

4. Why do the children mock Charles Tansley?

5. Why does Mrs. Ramsay suggest that Tansley accompany her to town?

6. What explanation does Mrs. Ramsay give for Mr. Carmichael’s lack of success?

7. What makes Mrs. Ramsay so attractive and magnetic to Tansley?

8. What entertainment does Mrs. Ramsay suggest to Mr. Tansley?

9. How does Woolf contrast Mrs. Ramsay’s outlook with that of her husband?

10. How is Woolf’s writing style different from more conventional writers?

1. The novel takes place at a beach house in the Hebrides (off the coast of Scotland).

2. James is disappointed because he wanted to sail to the
Lighthouse the next day, but his father ruins his expectations, saying the weather won’t permit it.

3. Mrs. Ramsay treats James with encouragement, recognizing his sensitivity. Mr. Ramsay ignores James’ feelings, believing that facts are inviolate.

4. The children mock Tansley because he is serious and sarcastic. He can’t play cricket and looks and walks funny.

5. Mrs. Ramsay invites Tansley to accompany her because she is aware of his discomfort and wants to include him.

6. Mrs. Ramsay tells Tansley that Mr. Carmichael is not a success, because he had an “unfortunate marriage.”

7. Mrs. Ramsay is attractive and magnetic to Tansley because he feels flattered by her attention and infers through her conversation that she admires the masculine intellect. He is overcome with her beauty and feels important just walking beside her.

8. The entertainment that Mrs. Ramsay proposes is to go to the circus.

9. Woolf contrasts Mrs Ramsay’s outlook with her husband’s in the sense that she is more aware of people’s feelings, more personally involved in encouraging and assisting others, and more attuned to the landscape. Mr. Ramsay focuses on abstract intellectual questions; he is preoccupied with his ability to contribute to the academic world.

10. Woolf’s writing style is “stream of consciousness,” rather than logically sequential in terms of plot or character development. She reveals her characters through recording the disconnectedness of their thoughts.

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Chapters 3 and 4 Questions and Answers