p.p1 just before the start of the World War

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To the Lighthouse is a novel written by Virginia Woolf which was published in 1927. The novel is divided into three parts: ‘The Window’, ‘Time Passes’, and ‘The Lighthouse’. The story centres on Mr. Ramsay’s family and their trip to the Isle of Skye in Scotland, just before the start of the World War I.  

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Abrams divides narrative and narratology by definition: “A narrative is a story, whether in prose or verse, involving events, characters, and what the characters say and do” (Abrams, 1993). And narratology: “A recent concern with narrative in general. It deals especially with the identification of structural elements and their diverse modes of combination, with recurrent narrative devices, and with the analysis of the kinds of discourse by which a narrative gets told” (Abrams, 1993). So in general, narratology aims to analyze the structure of narratives.

According to Genette (1988), focalization is “So by focalization I certainly mean a restriction of a ‘field’ — actually that is, a selection of narrative information with respect to what was traditionally called omniscience.” He distinguishes 3 kinds of focalization, which is:
Zero focalization: The narrator knows more than the characters. This is the traditional “omniscient narrator.”
Internal focalization: The narrator knows as much as the focal character.
External focalization: The narrator knows less than the characters.

Rimmon-Kenan (1994) differentiates focalizer and narrator by “In principle, focalization and narration are distinct activities. In so-called ‘third-person centre of consciousness’, the centre of consciousness is the focalizer, while the user of the third person is the narrator. Focalization and narration are also separate in first person retrospective narratives.”

In To the Lighthouse, Woolf uses external focalization to narrate the novel while Mrs. Ramsay is the focalizer. In the novel, Mrs. Ramsay portrayed as someone who possesses the awareness and intuitive feeling of the most important thing in life and the crucial social skills, which are the value of human relationships, the sake of the whole family, respect and love of her children, and the continued survival of her family and marriage. 

As it can be seen on the quotation: 

“”Yes, of course, if it’s fine tomorrow,” said Mrs Ramsay. “But you’ll have to be up with the lark,” she added. To her son these words conveyed an extraordinary joy,…” (Woolf, 1927: 4)

In this part, 

“And it was then too, in that chill and windy way, as she began to paint, that there forced themselves upon her other things, her own inadequacy, her insignificance, keeping house for her father off the Brompton Road, and had much ado to control her impulse to fling herself (thank Heaven she had always resisted so far) at Mrs Ramsay’s knee and say to her—but what could one say to her? “I’m in love with you?” No, that was not true. “I’m in love with this all,” waving her hand at the hedge, at the house, at the children. It was absurd, it was impossible” (Woolf, 1927: 17)

In this part, Lily is enchanted and in love with Mrs. Ramsay’s way of life. 

“And what then? For she felt that he was still looking at her, but that his look had changed. He wanted something—wanted the thing she always found it so difficult to give him; wanted her to tell him that she loved him. And that, no, she could not do. He found talking so much easier than she did. He could say things—she never could. So naturally it was always he that said the things, and then for some reason he would mind this suddenly, and would reproach her. A heartless woman he called her; she never told him that she loved him. But it was not so—it was not so. It was only that she never could say what she felt. Was there no crumb on his coat? Nothing she could do for him? Getting up, she stood at the window with the reddish-brown stocking in her hands, partly to turn away from him, partly because she remembered how beautiful it often is—the sea at night. But she knew that he had turned his head as she turned; he was watching her. She knew that he was thinking, You are more beautiful than ever. And she felt herself very beautiful. Will you not tell me just for once that you love me? He was thinking that, for he was roused, what with Minta and his book, and its being the end of the day and their having quarrelled about going to the Lighthouse. But she could not do it; she could not say it. Then, knowing that he was watching her, instead of saying anything she turned, holding her stocking, and looked at him. And as she looked at him she began to smile, for though she had not said a word, he knew, of course he knew, that she loved him. He could not deny it. And smiling she looked out of the window and said (thinking to herself, Nothing on earth can equal this happiness)— “Yes, you were right. It’s going to be wet tomorrow. You won’t be able to go.” And she looked at him smiling. For she had triumphed again. She had not said it: yet he knew.” (Woolf, 1927: 99)

In this part, Mrs. Ramsay is unable to express her love for Mr. Ramsay with words, but she does love him. Although in my opinion, her love for Mr. Ramsay does not need to be expressed in words but her action towards her husband does in order for it to be understood.

“…when the great clangour of the gong announced solemnly, authoritatively, that all those scattered about, in attics, in bedrooms, on little perches of their own, reading, writing, putting the last smooth to their hair, or fastening dresses, must leave all that, and the little odds and ends on their washing-tables and dressing tables, and the novels on the bed-tables, and the diaries which were so private, and assemble in the dining-room for dinner.” (Woolf, 1927: 69)

In this part, Mrs. Ramsay

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