To the Lighthouse Chapter 3 Questions and Answers
by Virginia Woolf

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Chapter 3 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How does Lily feel as she returns to her painting?

2. As she paints, how do Lily’s feelings change?

3. What is the image Lily has about painting?

4. What phrase recurs in Lily’s mind?

5. What scene does Lily recall?

6. What was Mrs. Ramsay’s part in that scene?

7. What revelation does Lily have about the meaning of life?

8. Why does Lily say she owes it all to Mrs. Ramsay?

9. What does Lily cry out?

10. What does Lily see when she looks out in the distance?

1. Lily feels rebuked by the canvas. She feels that her thoughts and feelings have drained her.

2. Lily becomes excited by the task and lets go of her emotional turmoil.

3. Lily thinks of painting like a kind of combat as she attacks her work.

4. Lily remembers that Tansley used to say that women “can’t paint and can’t write.”

5. Lily remembers a windy morning at the beach when she and Tansley had played ducks and drakes.

6. Mrs. Ramsay’s presence (asking about an object floating in the water, looking for her spectacles, etc.) had “oiled” the interaction between Lily and Charles. She had drained the tension from the two of them and had turned negative emotions into a harmonious encounter.

7. Lily sees that Mrs. Ramsay seemed to say, “Life stand still here!”; she had brought order out of chaos, as Lily seeks to do in her painting.

8. Lily feels Mrs. Ramsay’s ability to create meaningful moments has shown Lily that finding shape under all the chaos is possible.

9. She cries out “Mrs. Ramsay, Mrs. Ramsay.”

10. Lily sees a little boat shoot past the others, out to sea.