To the Lighthouse

By Virginia Woolf


The War is central to an understanding of To the Lighthouse. Woolf's mastery is in capturing the historical and political situation of her time in the description of her own very personal experiences. 'Time Passes', the second section of To the Lighthouse, is a poetical presentation of the effect of the war and Woolf's most brilliant use of the stream-of-consciousness style. The war made a mark upon everyone in England, and Woolf approached this pervasive influence in Mrs. Dalloway. To the Lighthouse is an even more personal representation of how this dark period affected her individually. Woolf believed in the possibility of the human spirit transcending itself and its historical situation - even if only momentarily - and Minta's painting at the end of the novel shows that despite the turmoil of the war years, there is still a sense of the transcendental nature of art.