To the Lighthouse

by Virginia Woolf

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Chapters 8-10 Questions and Answers

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 347

Study Questions
1. What happens to the boat out at sea?

2. What are Cam’s thoughts about the distant island?

3. What are James’ thoughts and feelings about his father?

4. What memories come to James’ mind?

5. What does James want to do to his father?

6. What are Cam’s thoughts about her father and brother?

7. How does the sudden progress of the boat affect James, Cam, and Mr. Ramsay?

8. How did Cam feel as a child when she had sat with her father and Carmichael and Bankes in the study?

9. What is Cam’s image of her father reading?

10. What does Cam murmer dreamily to herself as she looks at the distant island?

1. The boat is becalmed. There is no breeze.

2. Cam feels that they don’t feel anything there.

3. James feels that every gesture Mr. Ramsay makes is a hostile gesture directed at him. He anticipates with dread an unreasonable outburst from his father. He summons up the old image of stabbing his father in the heart.

4. James has a string of memories: he imagines his father as a black-winged harpy, striking his leg with its beak; he remembers the gardens, a dress rustling, and women gossiping. He remembers his father saying, “It will rain. You won’t be able to go to the Lighthouse.” He remembers a wagon wheel had gone over a person’s foot.

5. James wants to stab his father in the heart.

6. Cam feels upset by her father’s criticisms, i.e., she didn’t know the points of the compass and pressured by James’ obstinacy about their compact.

7. James feels relieved by the sudden movement of the boat. Mr. Ramsay lifts his hand as if he’s conducting a symphony. Cam feels a sense of adventure and escape as well as a sudden joy and anticipation.

8. Cam had felt safe to think her own thoughts in the study. She had felt her father’s kindness there.

9. Cam imagines her father guiding a flock of sheep up a narrow path, as he reads.

10. Cam repeats her father’s words, “We perished, each alone.”

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