The Deathmarch to the Lighthouse, Week 3

Never let it be said that I didn’t post the thread for Week 3 before midnight on Wednesday.
Still, this is really just a placeholder. Life — what with elections , Halloween, and all the time I’ve had to spend anticipating the release of the Borat movie — has overflowed into my Deathmarching time a tad, so this will be an unacceptably thin soup of an entry, hopefully replaced tomorrow with heartier fare. I will say this: loving the book. And this: digging the conversation this week — especially the back and forth re Mr. Ramsay.
Next Wednesday: Let’s meet at the end of Part I, where rumor has it she’s triumphed again.

17 comments for “The Deathmarch to the Lighthouse, Week 3

  1. Litbabe
    November 2, 2006 at 4:01 pm

    I find Mr. Ramsay quite ambiguous. Tyrannical, but guilt ridden about it. Loves his wife, yet manipulates her mercilessly. I like the passage on (my) page 67. “Mr. Ramsay should be proud of Andrew if he got a scholarship, he said. She would be just as proud of him if he didn’t, she answered. They disagreed always about this, but it did not matter. She liked him to believe in scholarships, and he liked her to be proud of Andrew whatever he did.” It shows a closeness and a habitual way of thinking together acheived after years together. In the next para, Mr. Ramsay starts to tell her what he had felt on the terrace, but hesitates, and then she presses him to tell her. Based on the closeness just described in the previous paragraph, one might argue that Mr. Ramsay knows when he begins to speak and then hesitates that his wife will press him. And so he can both feel like he tried to hold back something unpleasant to his wife, and yet speak it. The next paragraph Mrs. Ramsay thinks on something “No, they could not share that, they could not say that.” It’s an interesting ambiguity Woolf explores. There are things that they can share, and things that they cannot; what are these things, and why? In the next paragraph, they come upon a gap between the red hot pokers, and the lighthouse shining again. External symbolism, anyone? Woolf never quits.

  2. Computilo
    November 3, 2006 at 6:46 am

    “What did she wish to indicate by the triangular purple shape, “just there?” he asked. It was Mrs. Ramsay reading to James, she said.” I simply love Woolf’s vision of mother and child depicted as “a light here required a shadow there.” Mr. Ramsey’s shifting (or even sometimes shifty) representations in the novel seem a striking contrast. Mrs. R as light and shadow; Mr. R as light and dark? Ah, yes. When the deep purple falls……

  3. November 3, 2006 at 6:08 pm

    I’m in, I think.
    You’d be surprised how hard it is to find a copy of TTLH here in dirty Beijing. Or maybe you wouldn’t.
    Finally found an old hardback copy at a lending library that costs $50 a year to join. I’m here for four more days. A bit much even for Virginia Woolf.
    They agreed that if I bring in my old books we could do a swap if the books were good enough.
    So, do y’all reckon one Ian Rankin, one John Le Carre, a beat-up David Halberstam and a hiking guide to Beijing are worth one Woolf?
    (Yes, Cecil, I’m holding you responsible for elevating my tastes.)

  4. e.
    November 4, 2006 at 8:48 am

    how does she manage these things??
    the way we experience time–with all the minute observation, you’d think it would take forever just to get through twenty minutes, but somehow the day whips along.
    the way the characters experience time–”It was necessary now to carry everything a step further. With her foot on the threshold she waited a moment longer in a scene which was vanishing even as she looked, and then, as she moved and took Minta’s arm and left the room, it changed, it shaped itself differently: it had become, she knew, giving one last look at it over her shoulder, already the past.”

  5. November 7, 2006 at 6:40 am

    I claim the same as CV – too busy researching candidates and other tasks to post a thoughtful-enough comment this week though I am still loving the book. I’ll resume with my Mr. Ramsay’s disgusting discussion next week.

  6. other dan
    November 7, 2006 at 2:00 pm

    as i approach the end of the first part of this book i’m reminded of the improv everywhere prank at the home depot.
    i feel like i’m reading in slow motion.

  7. hutch
    November 7, 2006 at 5:27 pm

    OK. I’m afraid I’m running a bit behind… but I gotta post. I’ve got a plane ride coming up, so I hope to catch up. And I think I AM reading in slow motion…

  8. November 7, 2006 at 6:47 pm

    I agree completely about “She liked him to believe in scholarships, and he liked her to be proud of Andrew whatever he did.” In that is captured the essence of old-married-coupleness, something I have experienced for several years now. Very real, and delivered in practical terms.
    I’m finding the transitions between POVs and places not as hard as I expected, but I have to remind myself to slow down through each long stretch between actions: stay in the current sentence, read carefully, thoughtfully, without hurrying to the next period. I’ve always been a fast reader–something that helped in Gravity’s Rainbow but won’t here.
    I *so* wanted to kick Minta for losing the brooch.

  9. coralyn
    November 8, 2006 at 2:13 am

    I agree with what several of you have said about the slow motion sensation, but have yet to determine what exactly is moving slowly. I tend to read early in the morning — even more so now with the time change and my weird body clock — so that my alarm goes off to tell me that it is time to get up. It seemed like I was never going to reach the stopping place for this week and that I had not read but one or two pages: but there was the second part of the book staring at me when I turned the page and my alarm was not due to go off for almost an hour! Twenty plus pages had been “consumed” and yet I felt slowed down, calm and quiet. It is a marvelous gift Woolf has given us: a place of calm serenity, of quiet contemplation in a world even louder and crazier than her own. So, is it merely that we are taking time at its own natural pace? And that seems slow?
    Okay, one political comment: if Woolf encourages quiet contemplation, can we send a box-load to the White House?

  10. Erin
    November 8, 2006 at 7:51 am

    Am I supposed to post now for week 3 or wait for Cecil to post this next week’s reading assignment? I’m so confused by the system!
    Big news: I’ve read more than the first page or two! Actually, I like the way it reads. I’m interested, engaged, but still only a little way into the story and still not reading everyone’s comments because I don’t want to know what’s ahead.

  11. cookie
    November 8, 2006 at 11:52 am

    What stopped me first were the references to India. Mrs. Ramsey “had the whole of the other sex under her protection; for reasons she could not explain, for their chivalry and valour, for the fact that they negotiated treaties, ruled India, controlled finance.” And about her daughers: “for there was in all their minds a mute questioning of deference and chivalry, of the Bank of England and the Indian Empire, of ringed fingers and lace…” Ruling India, running the Bank of England–such big and important things that men do! And how deluded they can be about their power and control!

  12. rodney k.
    November 9, 2006 at 7:42 am

    I’m here.

  13. Alex Diablon
    November 9, 2006 at 9:12 pm

    No, Rodney K. You are there.

  14. So-Called Bill
    November 10, 2006 at 11:19 am

    So the really made a movie out of this thing? Goodness me, how? And why?

  15. So-Called Bill
    November 10, 2006 at 11:39 am

    Also, trivia dept.: Jasper Ramsey was played by Craig Warnock, whom we know as Kevin in “Time Bandits.”

  16. Julia
    November 11, 2006 at 1:27 pm

    I’m falling behind, but love lily Briscoe and the purple triangle, the lesbian lust for Mrs Ramsay, the image of Mrs R as beehive, bustling dome, fertile goddess of (literally milk andhoney. DOmes recall the domes of Constantinople, which wil make an appearance later in the book, and my MA class on the Bloomsbury group and V Woolf taught me that any kind of domes are female sensuality/sexuality/lesbian imagery. Like breasts. And the dome of Santa Sophia (holy wisdom, the feminine divine) as part of the skyline of Constantinople. Random thoughts on a cloudy-sunny Saturday…j

  17. Computilo
    November 11, 2006 at 2:16 pm

    All: Has there been a week 4? Or did the election count for two weeks? I’m still reading, but not sure what the post is supposed to cover. I’m as confused as Erin.

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