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Mrs Ramsay’s views on marriage in To the Lighthouse

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To the Lighthouse is a notable literary work by Virginia Woolf. A complete discussion of this literary work is given, which will help you enhance your literary skills and prepare for the exam. Read the main text, key info, Summary, Themes, Characters, Literary Devices, Quotations, Notes, to various questions of To the Lighthouse.

Answer

What are Mrs. Ramsay’s views on marriage?

In Virginia Woolf‘s (1882-1941) novel “To the Lighthouse,” published in 1927, Mrs. Ramsay is depicted as a complex and multi-dimensional character. Her views on marriage classify the traditional, domestic life of her time. It emphasises the importance of family, companionship, and the roles of wife and mother.

Source of Stability and Security: Mrs Ramsay views marriage as a central institution in the novel. It provides stability and security in an uncertain world. She believes in maintaining harmonious relationships and preserving the family unit. This perspective is evident when she shares her thoughts about her husband’s philosophical work, “The Lighthouse,” and its impact on their lives. Mrs. Ramsay suggests that marriage represents the stable Lighthouse. It brings clarity and purpose to life’s uncertainties. She finds comfort in the familiar roles.

Experience of Suffocation: However, Mrs. Ramsay also experiences a sense of suffocation and unfulfilled desires within the restrictions of marriage and motherhood. She struggles with her hidden longing for individual expression and autonomy. Woolf beautifully portrays Mrs. Ramsay’s inner struggle,

“Oh, but she wished, looking at the Lighthouse, its beam could reach her. It touched the heart; it did not merely brush the consciousness.”

Mrs. Ramsay desires for the Lighthouse’s beam to touch her heart. It symbolizes her desire for emotional connection and a sense of self-realization outside of family roles.

In short, Mrs. Ramsay’s views on marriage are ambivalent (having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas). She values stability and security in familial life. Her character acts as a representation of the internal conflicts in women’s lives in contemporary society.