Literature Study GuidesTo The LighthouseThe Lighthouse Chapter 6 Summary

To the Lighthouse | Study Guide

Virginia Woolf

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To the Lighthouse | The Lighthouse, Chapter 6 | Summary



The entire chapter appears in brackets, as if the action is an afterthought to the main text. After Macalister's son catches a fish, he cuts a chunk from its body to bait his hook and throws its body back into the sea: "The mutilated body (it was still alive) was thrown back into the sea."


Typically, the narrator uses brackets to include factual information, which here suggests little is happening on the boat, inwardly and outwardly. The language suggests a certain brutality in the act, or in survival itself.

The bracketed text also suggests that the action is meaningless to Macalister's son; the toss back into the sea is written in the passive voice, as if he is not an active participant. Yet the inclusion of this chapter suggests this compressed moment in time may have an effect on another character.

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