To the Lighthouse Chapters 8-10 Questions and Answers

Virginia Woolf

Chapters 8-10 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What are Mrs. McNab’s thoughts on returning to the house?

2. What are Mrs. McNab’s memories of Mrs. Ramsay?

3. Explain the metaphor of the the feather. What does it signify?

4. Why do Mrs. McNab and Mrs. Bast and her son come to clean the house?

5. How does Mrs. McNab remember Mr. Ramsay?

6. How does Mrs. McNab remember the house when the Ramsays were there?

7. What personal handicaps do the two women have in their housecleaning efforts?

8. What is suggested by the words, “messages of peace breathe from the sea to the shore”?

9. How does nature change as a result of these messages?

10. Describe the sleep enjoyed by Lily when she returns to the house.

Answers
1. Mrs. McNab has heard the house will be sold and the family won’t be back.

2. Mrs. McNab remembers Mrs. Ramsay as pleasant with all the staff. She envisions a specific day when Mrs. Ramsay, bent over her flowers, greets her warmly and tells her she will have the cook get her a plate of soup.

3. The house is near ruin. Something as weightless as a feather could tip the balance, making absolute disintegration inevitable.

4. The caretakers come to clean the house because they have received word from one of the Ramsay daughters that they will come to spend the summer and they want the house put into shape.

5. Mrs. McNab remembers Mr. Ramsay as an old gentleman, lean as a rake, wagging his head and talking to himself. He never spoke to her.

6. Mrs. McNab remembers the dinner parties, the guests in formal attire; she remembers the happy tone of the staff, the laughter in the kitchen; she recalls the tasty food, given generously by the cook.

7. The two women are in their seventies. They are slow in movement. They tire easily. They are not agile.

8. The messages of peace are messages that the war has ended.

9. Instead of being threatening and ominous, Nature becomes beautiful and gentle.

10. Lily’s sleep is accompanied by the gentle waves and the tender night. She sleeps soundly and well.