Literature Study GuidesTo The LighthouseThe Lighthouse Chapter 13 Summary

To the Lighthouse | Study Guide

Virginia Woolf

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To the Lighthouse | The Lighthouse, Chapter 13 | Summary

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Summary

Lily Briscoe assumes the boat has reached the lighthouse and thinks Mr. Ramsay has received the sympathy she failed to give him that morning. Augustus Carmichael joins her at the lawn's edge and says, "They will have landed." Lily is comforted by knowing they are thinking the same things, and "he had answered her without her asking him anything."

Exhausted, Lily returns to her canvas. Looking between the "blurred" painting and the "empty" steps, with "sudden intensity" she paints a line in the center of the canvas, finishing the piece.

Analysis

Lily and Mr. Carmichael share a profound moment of ease over knowing, individually then together, Mr. Ramsay's boat has reached the lighthouse, that Mr. Ramsay, James, and Cam have reached what was previously inaccessible. Their connection satisfies Lily, showing the growth of both characters, who throughout the novel have struggled to connect with others.

Almost simultaneously Lily is able to complete her painting, as she reaches her own understanding of its subject and comes to terms with her years of grieving. Lily's vision, which now satisfies her, is equivalent to James, Cam, and Mr. Ramsay arriving at the lighthouse. As she finishes her painting, she realizes she does not care where it is hung, but she knows that it captures for eternity the essence of a single moment. The moment and her vision of it will endure long after all are gone.

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