Gender Politics in To the Lighthouse

Turkey, ID CLEaR2015-251; Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse is a tremendous blow to traditional perception of women in Victorian society. Lily Briscoe, a female artist, is oppressed by both women and her opposite sex in a time when women aren’t considered as eligible for art. Woolf projects her views on gender through Lily and her relations with Mrs. Ramsay and Mr. Ramsay. In order to understand the gender politics in To the Lighthouse, it is important to have a close look at Lily’s struggle with patriarchy in her travel to artistic self-realization. In this respect, The Ramsay family is a microcosm of Victorian society through which Woolf comments on the changing feminist perspectives on gender roles. Focusing on the relations between Lily and other characters, the purpose of this paper is to analyze how Woolf reveals her feminist views and hints at the reversal of traditional gender roles through Lily Briscoe.

Key words: Feminism, Gender Studies, Modernism, Victorian