Department Chair or Program Director
Bachelor of Arts
Major or Concentration
English, Linguistics, and Communication
In my essay, I seek to complicate typical ideas surrounding gender politics in Virginia Woolf’s Modernist novel, To the Lighthouse. To do this, I first consider the portraits of Mr. Ramsay and his son, James, to show that Woolf, contrary to popular opinion shies away from simplistic portraits of masculine power. That is, rather than creating two typically masculine gentlemen, as most critics posit that she does, Woolf instead creates two characters who fail to conform to masculine norms. This discrepancy suggests that, Woolf captures a shifting cultural landscape in language and portrays the birth of a more “Modern Man.” She continues to play with gender binaries in her depictions of the two central female characters, Lily and Mrs. Ramsay. Accordingly, this essay shows that, while it may not always take the same forms as masculine (or standard power), both characters exhibit a feminine type of power readers should acknowledge.
Riggleson, Ashley, "What We Talk About When We Talk About the Ramsays: Gender Politics in To the Lighthouse" (2018). Student Research Submissions. 229.