A Symbolic Study of Gender Images in To the Lighthouse毕业论文
2.1 Symbolic meanings of gender images in To the Lighthouse————————2
2.1.1 Images of the main characters from the perspective of gender———————-2
18.104.22.168 Mr. Ramsay—reason and rules——————————————————–2
22.214.171.124 Mrs. Ramsay—emotion and intuition————————————————3
2.1.2 Images of the scenes from the perspective of gender———————————5
126.96.36.199 The lighthouse—androgyny———————————————————–5
188.8.131.52 The window—Mrs. Ramsay’s window of soul ————————————-7
184.108.40.206 The sea—Mrs. Ramsay’s inner world————————————————8
2.1.3 Images of the colors from the perspective of gender———————————9
220.127.116.11 Red—the male—————————————————————————9
18.104.22.168 Blue and green—the female———————————————————-10
Works Cited ————————————————————————————-12
A Symbolic Study of Gender Images in To the Lighthouse
Virginia Woolf (1882一1941), regarded as famous as James Joyce and John Keats, was one of the foremost female modernists of the twentieth century in English literary circle. As an eminent figure, Woolf is considered as a novelist, an essayist, a publisher, a critic and many other roles she presented. Woolf represents a historical moment when art was integrated into society, as T.S. Eliot described in his obituary for Virginia, “Without Virginia Woolf at the center of English literary culture, it would have remained formless or marginal…With the death of Virginia Woolf, a whole pattern of culture is broken” (Eliot 3).
Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928), and the book-length essay A Room of One’s Own (1929). Woolf’s works, noted for their poetic and symbolic quality and their delicacy and sensitivity of style, have lasting effect on the art of the novel. As a prominent and prolific English female writer, she left us great legacy in literature.
To the Lighthouse is one of Woolf’s representative works and is regarded as a landmark of high modernism. The novel centers on the Ramsays and their visits to the Isle of Skye in Scotland between 1910 and 1920. The household consists of Mr. Ramsay, a writer and lecturer on philosophy, Mrs. Ramsay, an imaginative woman and the reassuring spirit of the house, their 8 children, and some guests. The novel is divided into 3 parts, separately entitled “The Window,” “Time Passes,” and “The Lighthouse.” The first part deals with a summer evening before World War I. The Ramsays plan a visit to a lighthouse for the next morning. The children look forward to it with great enthusiasm. But Mr. Ramsay fears that the weather may not be fine. James, one of the younger boys, hates his father for saying so. Mrs. Ramsay consoles him that it might be fine the next day. The hopes and disappointments of the children, and the different personalities of their parents are depicted with subtlety through the recording of the characters’ psychological activities. Then the night falls, the weather makes it increasingly unlikely that the visit will take place, and the mysterious lighthouse flashes through the darkness. The second part is about what happens in the war years from 1914 to 1918, during which Mrs. Ramsay dies. So do two of her elder children. The third part is dominated by Mr. Ramsay, who is now philosophical and lonely. James finally made the symbolic trip to the lighthouse.
“Throughout the novel, action is minimal, and all the interest is concentrated on the thoughts, moods and mental impressions of the various characters.” (Liu Bingshan 408) In To the Lighthouse, Woolf adopted the literary technique of symbolism to reveal women’s experience and find an alternative to the male-dominated views of reality. In 1998, the Modern Library named To the Lighthouse No. 15 on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. With this work, Woolf established herself as one of the leading writers of modernism. This paper focuses on the symbolic meanings of gender images —— characters, scenes and colors, and exposes the author’s pursuit of harmonious gender relationship.