“She took shelter from the reverence which covered all women; she felt herself praised.”
The opening scene of In To The Lighthouse between Mr Ramsay and Mrs Ramsay exemplifies the gender division that runs throughout the novel highlighting Woolf’s own perspective on society and sexuality between genders. Woolf supports the belief in a complete change to society resulting in a non – hierarchical society. Woolf felt for this to happen aside from the practical changes, that a radical redefinition of sexuality was also needed. Woolf focuses on the “sexual issues of the twentieth century central to feminist campaigns, such as marriage being a form of institutionalized slavery, as well as the androgynous dual roles displayed by both men and women, amidst the development of characters.” Woolf style of narration also impact the novel as she is known for not wanting to relate the novel with a single narrator, “Woolf’s interests lay in wanting to communicate the impression made by one individual upon another, thereby revealing human personality through its own self-consciousness.”
Woolf brings to attention one of Freud’s most well-known theory, the oedipal complex to highlight the patriarchy that runs through the family starting with Mr Ramsay and his need for his own whims and desires to be fulfilled by Mrs Ramsay. Significantly, James being the young child has the same desire to carry on the patriarchy and replace his father as the top of the family. James needs the same reassurances and displays the same selfishness as his father in needing this sympathy and concern showed to him by Mrs Ramsay, “James…stood stiff between her knees, felt her rise in a rosy-flowered fruit tree laid with leaves and dancing boughs into which the beak of brass.”
James displays the same traits as his father in needing sympathy and assurances from his mother, highlighting his own insecurities which as a child is not that detrimental, yet are still an occurrence which fore shadows James as a replacement of his father, Woolf states “ the arid scimitar of his father, the egotistical man, plunged and smote, demanding sympathy. Woolf suggests the similarities between Mr Ramsay and James and hints at a running of this patriarchy through this example of Freud’s oedipal complex.
The author relates the story of Oedipus to highlight patriarchy which runs through the family and the roles displayed by the men in the family and the women. The story of Oedipus is where Oedipus kills his father and marries his mother. Freud states that the daughter demands the attention of the father and the son the attention of her father and uses this example of Oedipus in exemplifying this theory. In doing so Freud suggests this monopolizes the love the son has for the mother at the risk of jealousy from the father, due to the demanding attention the child craves from the mother. Similarly, this oedipal triangle is formed between James and his parents. Woolf gives reference to Freud and his...