William Woolf 's The Lighthouse

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Woolf’s ‘To the Lighthouse’ is written in a Modernist style, is very philosophical, does not have a traditional casual plot, and focuses on the exploration of the mind. Woolf uses experimental techniques, such as writing as a stream-of-consciousness in order to present the experience, subconscious minds, and the conscious thoughts of characters. The sense of a clear authorial narrator is missing as Woolf describes the minds of her characters in poetic images and her free-flowing style allows Woolf to flit between different characters’ minds and examine experience through various shifting perspectives. The use of this form allows her to focus on particular moments within the novel, and the plot is created by following the train of thoughts…show more content…
As Julian Hanna wrote, ‘The inward turn or exploration of the psyche often said to characterize modernist literature is difficult to imagine without Freud’. Woolf seems uninterested in the external influences that occur during the period of the novel, and passes over significant events such as World War One, and the marriage and deaths of her characters, effectively capturing these within 10 concise chapters.
The novel does not progress on a what-happens-next basis, but progresses by following the continual activity of characters’ consciousness and impressions, moving forward by a series of scenes arranged according to a sequence of several particular moments of consciousness. Writing in this style allows Woolf to convey her characters using very little physical description, so we are left to interpret them through the thoughts and opinions of other characters. Therefore it is hard for the reader to interpret because it is unclear whose perspective the opinion is from, and we do not know if they are reliable. Woolf filters all of the different characters thoughts together, and translates their emotions by writing poetically in a stream of consciousness. This allows Woolf to distort time by focusing on individual moments and skimming over others, therefore stretching out certain periods of time and condensing
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