To the Lighthouse Chapters 9-11 Questions and Answers

Virginia Woolf

Chapters 9-11 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What is Lily Briscoe’s criticism of Mrs. Ramsay?

2. What is William Bankes’ criticism of Mr. Ramsay?

3. How does Mr. Bankes view Lily’s work?

4. Why does Mrs. Ramsay feel misunderstood?

5. How does Mrs. Ramsay view life?

6. What does Mrs. Ramsay believe about James’ disappointment with the postponed trip?

7. Why does Mrs. Ramsay like to be alone?

8. What does the Lighthouse represent to Mrs. Ramsay?

9. How does Mr. Ramsay feel about his wife’s preoccupations?

10. Why does Mrs. Ramsay join her husband for a walk?

Answers
1. Lily feels Mrs. Ramsay is willful, capable of ridicule, and too preoccupied with arranging other people’s lives (i.e., marrying them off).

2. William Bankes feels Mr. Ramsay is a hypocrite.

3. Bankes is interested in learning about Lily’s painting. He listens to her ideas thoughtfully.

4. Mrs. Ramsay feels misunderstood by those people who accuse her of being domineering. She feels that she’s only tyrannical about her social causes, for example, her hospital work.

5. Mrs. Ramsay feels life is terrible and hostile. She feels that there is no reason, or order, or justice—only suffering, death, and poverty.

6. Mrs. Ramsay believes that James will remember this day for the rest of his life.

7. Mrs. Ramsay likes to be alone because she feels released from the strain of being and doing. She experiences a sense of infinite possibilities.

8. Mrs. Ramsay endows the Lighthouse with a variety of symbolic attributes. The third stroke of the Lighthouse is “her stroke.” In one instance it focuses her random thoughts into a phrase, “Children don’t forget, children don’t forget.” At another moment, the light reminds her of the happiness she has known.

9. Mr. Ramsay notices his wife’s preoccupations and is disturbed by her sadness.

10. Mrs. Ramsay senses her husband’s protectiveness as he has glanced at her, marveling at her beauty. She takes her shawl and joins him.