Stream Of Consciousness In "To The Lighthouse"

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Stream of Consciousness in ?To the Lighthouse? ?Stream of consciousness? is a modernist narrative technique that attempts to create the illusion that the reader is experiencing the unstructured flow of observations, ideas, memories, and associations that occur in the mind of the fictional character. The stream is often illogical and puzzling in its apparent disorganization, but some patterns of association, habits of thought or recurrent images begin to emerge, providing indications of the overriding fears, preoccupations and interests of the character. The ?stream of consciousness? tries to portray the elemental, emotional life, and the hidden psychological life of the character. In To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf develops the ?stream of consciousness? technique as a means of exploring the inner lives of her characters, and she displays life as an aspect and function of the mind.

In To the Lighthouse, we find ourselves in a small community of people who are expected to have individual interests and experiences.

The Ramsay?s and their eight children are on holiday on the north coast of Scotland. In addition to the Ramsay family, included on this holiday are friends and acquaintances. Mr. Ramsay is a professional author and philosopher and the characters that Woolf has placed with him all seem to be of the intellectual set; Lily Briscoe is an artist, Augustus Carmichael is a poet, William Bankes is a botanist, and Charles Tansley is a scholar.

Part One of To the Lighthouse, ?The Window,? shows us the basic personalities of Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey and the intricacies of their relationship with one another, as well as the mind set of other characters presented by Woolf. As the plot progresses, it appears to move on normal constructional lines from scene to scene. However, it must be remembered that Woolf uses...