Literature Study GuidesTo The LighthouseThe Lighthouse Chapter 10 Summary

To the Lighthouse | Study Guide

Virginia Woolf

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To the Lighthouse | The Lighthouse, Chapter 10 | Summary



Cam watches the shore from the sea. She begins telling herself a story of escaping from a sinking ship because she craves "adventure and escape." James watches the sail, and she wants to tell him to consider their father as he is now (reading), to temper James's negative opinions. Mr. Ramsay looks up to "pin down some thought more exactly." She continues with her adventure story, looking back at the shore, whispering "how we perished, each alone."


Cam reaches peace in her thoughts—no longer hurt by her father's offensiveness and brother's stubbornness, which cause her "anguish"—and considers what is next after feeling "all had slipped, all had passed, all had streamed away." Cam, like her mother, fears old age and loneliness. These thoughts, like James's in Chapter 8, display emotional growth.

Observing Mr. Ramsay in memory (an "intolerably egotistical" and "sarcastic brute") and at present ("reading the little book with his legs curled"), she does not see a "vain tyrant." She sees an old man, someone who ensures she is comfortable, and she can accept him as he is now. Like Lily Briscoe and painting, Cam creates, inventing an adventure story. Her narrative represents how she aligns more with modern women than with the gender roles her parents represent. At the same time, she repeats something her father says, "how we perished, each alone," showing how part of him lives in her.

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