Character Development Of Womanhood In To The Lighthouse By Virginia Woolf

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In the novel To The Lighthouse written by Virginia Woolf, the character development of Lily Briscoe is reflected in the progression of her painting. Ardent and independent, Lily takes time to contemplate differing opinions pressured on her about the idea of womanhood. This was a cultural abnormality in patriarchal Great Britain during Woolf’s time. Women were to be submissive to their husbands without question and that their place was bound in household affairs. But here is Lily, a young single budding artist who aspires to have her paintings remembered and valued. At first, Lily struggles with making sense of the shapes and colors in her portrait of Mrs Ramsay. In the final chapter, however, her art “grows and at the end, Lily attains fullness of vision. Life enlightens and enriches her art. What Woolf tries to say is that Lily’s art by itself is not everything. Her painting needs to be enriched by life and draw the raw materials of art from life.” .

The novel is divided into three parts: “The Window”, “Time Passes” and “The Lighthouse”. Beginning in the “The Window”, Lily is seen attempting to draw a portrait of Mrs Ramsay. While she diligently works on the easel, Mrs Ramsay tries to convince her to get married. Lily replies that “she liked to be alone; she liked to be herself; she was not made for that” (Part 1, Chapter 9). As much as she adores Mrs Ramsay, Lily rejects her notion of the conventional Woman to find a husband and have children. Yet, her defiance is not

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