Essay: To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf

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  • Subject area(s): Literature essays
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  • Published on: July 20, 2019
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In twentieth century To the Lighthouse, which are external indicators of inner realities, evoking various experiences and sensations, is representative of modern novel. To the Lighthouse is masterpiece of Virginia Woolf who has significant place in modern period and changes the traditional novel radically. To the Lighthouse helps to understand reality and Woolf’s aspect of reality. In the novel, vision of reality bases on private experience, stream of conciousness, thoughts and feelings. Moreover, in modern literature and previous literature, reality is one of the most important issues.Virginia Woolf thinks that she should create a kind of brand-new novel for new period properly because she wants to get rid of both traditional narration and ordinary style in previous literature. Woolf’s aim is to destroy traditional reality in English Literature. Virginia Woolf’s reality is the invention of truth and life. To The Lighthouse which each character has different aspect of reality in the novel, is design of what Woolf sees in real life. This article aims to explore reality in the novel and examine Woolf’s aspect of reality expressing meaning of life and evoking various experiences and sensations. Also this study aims to consider how reality occurs inner world of human effecting by external world.


The meaning of real is found that actually existing a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed in and real is defined as authentic, unchangeable truth in dictionaries. If you are talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, brain interprets ‘real’ with electrical signals. Reality is the state of things existing rather than as they may appear or might be imagined. Philosophers, mathematicians, other ancient and modern thinkers, such as Aristotle, Plato, and Russell, have made distinction in reality that houghts of thingst. Besides reality is defined as the interaction of realities. Each person has defined real and reality differently. Reality is examined in different two vision as subjective and objective, initutive and intellectual, and visible and invisible. All of them contains virtually the same thought.Some intellectuals believes that reality occures in external world unlike some of them defends that reality consists in internal world. According to F.Herzeg, lifespan of real is eternal. This statement can be commented as anything is not real if it is not eternal. That is to say, for Muslims unique real is ALLAH because except of ALLAH, everything in the world is temporary. For Remy de Gourmant, real is like a walking-stick which human resist to in duration of life. As states before, real and reality are variable.On the other hand, according to Albert Einstein ”Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. İllusion is not dream, only we cannot see, feels in our minds. When we look this perspectives, we can say there is not accurate ‘reality’ in the world and in reality stream of conciousness takes place important.

In A Room of One’s Own which is novel of Virginia Woolf, she defines reality: What is meant by “reality”? It would seem to be something very erratic, very undependable now to be found in a dusty road, now in a scrap of newspaper in the street, now a daffodil in the sun. It lights up a group in a room and stamps some casual saying. It overwhelms one walking home beneath the stars and makes the silent world more real than the world of speech—and then there it is again in an omnibus in the uproar of Piccadilly. Sometimes, too, it seems to dwell in shapes too far away for us to discern what their nature is. But whatever it touches, it fixes and makes permanent. That is what remains over when the skin of the day has been cast into the hedge; that is what is left of past time and of our loves and hates (Woolf, 1929:91). Virginia Woolf emphasizes that reality is changeable from person to person and is not trustful. In above statement she tells that reality remains only in life from everything. According to her, reality fixes and makes permanent whatever it touches. According to Woolf, reality is thoughts and feelings innerself and arises from a consciousness of ourselves as living in a world. Reality of Virginia Woolf is the exploration of truth and life through subjective efforts. The visible reality is based on observable things but the invisible reality is based on unforeseen things as thoughts, feeling. She mentions reality of life is not material, is spirutual. Reality is fluidic like water, intangible and variable. Virginia Woolf wants to get rid of traditional narration and ordinary style in previous literature. In her book, Virginia Woolf, Mina Urgan states, she knew that she should create a kind of brand-new novel for new period properly. We can understand her desire from her diary in dated 1934. Woolf states ‘I have to some extent forced myself to break every mould and find a fresh form of being, that is of expression, for everything I feel and I think… This needs constant effort.’ Woolf’s aim is to destroy traditional reality in English Literature. In Victorian period, because of bad conditions writers give importance to reality that is in appearences. Most of writers reflects reality without shake up in the world. According to Woolf, in the novel, reality should be bases on innerself and writers should not tell only events. Because events effects human and reality composes innerself of human. Concept of reality takes place in her some novel, A Room of One’s Own,Mr. Dalloway, and To the Lighthouse.

To the Lighthouse is the reflection of what Virginia Woolf sees in real life. A unique mode of perception where both subject and object merge together is demonstrated by Virginia Woolf. She believes that reality is beyond the surface. Any writer can not influence her but they describe her own aspects and experiences. Virginia Woolf sees life as lighthouse. According to Woolf, life is fixed but meaning of life is changeable. Wisdom is superior than reality. To resemble something to another is work of visdom. Reality and meaning of life are fluidic because we make sense to everything. For example when we watch a film, this film maybe comic or emotinal. According to Woolf, innerself of person is not related to apperances of human. She implies perfectly reality in To the Lighthouse.

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