In “To the Lighthouse” Virginia Wolf found a subject that enable her to do full justice to her technique.
It is an admitted fact that Virginia Wolf is not the pioneer of the technique of stream of consciousness but it does not make her a less competitive writer in using the said technique. He has knowledge about the said technique and also the ability as well as talent to use it in her novels. “To the Lighthouse” defends the writer to the extent that she is able to use the technique by underestimating the power of plot and also by revealing the status of mind of every character. Hardly, anyone can be satisfied with the plot of the novel but everyone appreciate the technique, used by the writer, in order to disclose the perception of every character.The writer takes a character and then shows his position in the eyes of other characters and then again, she catches the second character with the observations of remaining persons. In this way, the technique goes on and eventually completes the novel. Although, James Joyce can be titled as the pioneer of the technique of stream of consciousness yet the masterly usage of said technique by Virginia Woolf can never be undervalued. She does not focus on the plot but on the attentions of every character and thus illustrates a vivid picture of every person embedded in the novel. This is the only reason; her novels are categorized as the reality based literary work.
As far as the subject to the novel is concerned, it is about the life and literature. It is the only subject, which is best to show the practice of writer in using the technique. Let us spread light on different incidents of the novel as well as characters. Mr. Ramsay’s son namely James has killed his father many times in his consciousness but in reality he cannot perform this step.It indicates the reality of life. Can we take such steps that we think in our mind or consciousness? Definitely, not. We cannot do that. Our life is dependent on our circumstances, whether directly or indirectly. The writer does not discuss what a specific character is doing but elaborates his thinking regarding any tangible or intangible thing. If the character is thinking about any other character of the novel then the writer does not suggests that it is good or bad instead leaves it on her readers to decide. Thus, it depends on the reader to make conclusions from the consciousness of characters. Lily Briscoe is an important character of the novel so as to discuss the technique of consciousness along with the subject of art. Her mind remains confuses in half of the novel and because of jumble ideas of her mind, she is unable to complete her painting. Ultimately, at the end of novel due to harmony of her consciousness, she is able to complete her artistic work. The reader clearly sees what is going on in the mind of Lily Briscoe and what is the reason behind her uncertainty? Similarly, the character of Mr. Ramsay is amazingly portrayed as the writer less describes about the character but more about his concentration. Thus, through the philosophy of every character, we judge it. Mr. Ramsay is a person, who believes on reality. No matter how harsh it is, he wanted his children to face it. He is of the view that spending lifespan is not an easy task. His attitude towards life is very strict. If we find him harsh and strict, it is because of the expert practice of the technique of stream of consciousness.
Apart from the above examples,apparently, “To The Lighthouse” is just a journey from house to the Lighthouse but deep down it is much symbolic. We can adjudge symbolic representation of life in this novel. The life is a journey from birth to death. We try to mould our lives according to the consciousness of mind but we cannot do it.We can try our best but we are dependent on the surroundings. The example of James Ramsay is very much relevant to be mentioned here. He tries his best to convince his father to visit the lighthouse but his father denies the visit saying that the weather will not be good enough to visit to the lighthouse and thus it creates hatred in the heart of James Ramsay against his father, which is expressed by his mind by using the technique of consciousness.If said technique is gifted to Virginia Wolf by the God, then she fulfilled her responsibility by choosing the subject of life and art.
Finally yet importantly, the choice of subject by the writer, in showing her grip over the technique of consciousness, is much satisfied as well as justified. She chooses a subject, in which she has awareness. Literature is reflection of life but every writer sees life differently. It is not necessary for a writer to follow any procedure regarding life with the purpose of describing it. As Aristotle said, the writer simply imitates things by harmonizing them through his mind, thus, Virginia Wolf, very honestly, has chosen said subject, because it enables her to do full justice to her technique of stream of consciousness.