MAJOR WORKS DATA SHEET
Title: To the Lighthouse
Author: Virginia Woolf
Date of Publication: 1927
The diction in “To the Lighthouse” stays consistent and formal throughout the entirety of the novel. Even though Woolf mostly uses narration of all the characters thoughts to progress through the story, the choice of language stays the same. Even when narrating the inner monologue of six year old James, who accuses his father of possessing “some secret conceit at his own accuracy of judgment”, the educated and precise word choice remains the same to keep the omnipotent speaker impartial, only presenting the facts given for the readers to interpret themselves.
The syntax of this novel also mostly remains consistent. To fit with the lengthy and educated words, Woolf also utilizes very long and complex sentences. This method fits in with the stream of consciousness style by replicating the almost rhythmic way thoughts work. Musings such as “It was odd, she thought, how if one was alone, one leant to inanimate things; trees, streams, flowers; felt they expressed one; felt they became one; felt they knew one, in a sense were one; felt an irrational tenderness thus […] as one for herself” The sentence structure suits the setup, because they are not simple, just like the characters and their thoughts.
The tone of “To the Lighthouse” can best be described as lonely, emotional and nostalgic. All the characters of the novel are essentially all alone in their own thoughts, and a lot of them feel unable to relate to others. The story focuses the majority on how the characters are feeling, and dramatizes them. Characters do not act rationally, and instead base their actions on their emotions, such as when Tansley suddenly confesses his love for Mrs. Ramsay in his thoughts in the marketplace. Nostalgia is used in the third part of the novel when especially Cam and James miss people that are gone or...