To the Lighthouse The Lighthouse, Chapters 1 and 2 Questions and Answers

Virginia Woolf

The Lighthouse, Chapters 1 and 2 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Lily feel “blank” on the morning after she returns to the Ramsay house?

2. What is the mood in the household?

3. Why does Lily pretend to drink out of an empty coffee cup?

4. What words does Mr. Ramsay mutter to himself?

5. What does Lily remember about her unfinished painting?

6. What had Mr. Ramsay said to embarrass Lily and the other guests the evening before?

7. What are the children’s feelings about going to the Lighthouse?

8. How does Lily feel about her behavior toward Mr. Ramsay?

9. How does Mr. Ramsay react to Lily’s comment about his boots?

10. How do Lily’s feelings about Mr. Ramsay change?

Answers
1. She wonders why she came back, now that Mrs. Ramsay is dead. She senses the conflict and disharmony in the house.

2. The mood is aimless, unreal, and chaotic. Doors slam and voices call all over the house.

3. Lily pretends to drink out of an empty cup, because she wants to avoid Mr. Ramsay’s calls for sympathy.

4. Mr. Ramsay mutters “perished” and “alone” to himself.

5. Lily remembers that she had had a revelation ten years earlier at this very table. She had moved something on the tablecloth and had seen how she would fix up the composition of her painting.

6. Mr. Ramsay had said, “You find us much changed.”

7. The children feel coerced. They agree to go to the Lighthouse, but they are not enthusiastic about the trip.

8. Lily feels she is a discredit to her gender. She knows she should be sympathetic, but she cannot be.

9. Mr. Ramsay is delighted with Lily’s comment. He becomes absorbed in a discussion of boots and bootmakers.

10. Lily feels sympathy for Mr. Ramsay. She recognizes that he is bereft and has only the small escape of discussions about boots to comfort him. She admires his dedication to the quest for knowledge and his ability to put aside his worries and ambitions when he assumes command of his small expedition to the Lighthouse.