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To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf’s book, “To The Lighthouse,” is categorized amongst the most challenging books to read. The notion about its difficulty in reading attracted my attention and I was eager to find it myself. Despite its difficulty in reading or not, it concentrates on tracing ones sea legs. The book employs a lot of fiction intermingling throughout separated consciousness. The plot of the book is set in three parts, The Window, Time Passes and The Lighthouse. In regards to the first part, ‘The Window,’ the book illustrates about the relationship existing between character experience, actual experience and the surrounding. Character experience is portrayed through how the characters presented interact with each other. The main characters are Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay and James their son. Actual experience emerges due the difference in role of men and women. Finally, the surrounding is depicted in the way it influences human activities. In the second part there are no characters represented rather only tragic events are presented differently in span of ten years. Four years represent the starts and end of World War 1.The other years are filled with death tragedies, Mrs. Ramsay amongst other character pass away. The last part of the plot, ‘The Lighthouse,” elaborates the return of remaining characters to their home after ten years.
To begin with the difficulties of this book are based on the major themes it presents; complexities in experience and human relationships and modernism as well. Relative to experience complexities, the book concentrates in investigating perception means in trying to understand individuals through observation. To identify their though, one would require to spend considerable amount of time evaluating your own thoughts, words and emotions arising in your mind in response to what your observations. This sets one adrift in other peoples mind, desire, despair, emotional rhythms and unfamiliar fear. This poses the challenge in identifying who is who, who is saying it or thinking what. Someone can easily lose focus on whose mind he/she is listening, hearing and who/what is spoken about. This makes one feels as if he/she is filled with an alienated conscious. The trick of how to go about it is by surrendering yourself, letting yourself to be carried along, moved and sometimes amused and comprehended to other’s consciousness. As per human relationship complexities, perception is analyzed on the context of emotional and human relationship in other human beings. Further to modernism, Woolf displays modernism in terms of human thoughts. Here, transience of human nature is considered the major subject in dealing with perception.
Woolf’s writing is sometimes felt as confusing, frustrating and disconcerting. This is attributed to lack of an omniscient narrator apart from the second part. Narration of the plot is unfolded by shifting perspectives of the characters in their streams of consciousness. By lacking a narrator, the reader experiences hardships since there is no clear guide. Therefore, character development is formulated using our own views and opinions. On the other hand, the second part, Woolf wrote it from a displaced narrator view. That is, in a manner related to events and time instead of the characters. Because of this the narrator appears as distorted and unfocussed. These challenging and difficult attributes of the book make easy forgettable once read. Therefore, the SQ4R technique can be of vital help in preparing one’s brain in reading this book.

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