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To the Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf: Lily

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  1. William Bankes and Mr.Tansley
  2. Lily, a passionate artist

Lily Briscoe embodies the figure of the artist in To the Lighthouse. In the first part of the novel she prepares her painting. It's only in part 3 that she rediscovers her half-finished painting and finally goes back to finish it.

She is a single young woman who rejects marriage and social or gender conventions that people want to impose on her.

[...] When she looks at her painting for the first time she has a nervous breakdown because she finds it really bad. She is lost by everything she sees around her and doesn't find a way to connect them. She can't manage to find a meaning in the forms and colours she paints. It's only at the end, when she finishes her painting, that she's relieved to see that the painting matches her vision. Then she is entirely fulfilled as an artist but also as a complete women. [...]

[...] She tries to be as close of the truth as possible by harmonizing many diverse elements in her painting. Actually, when Lily says at the end of the novel, that she would need at least fifty pairs of eyes to fully understand Mrs.Ramsay, she reflects the whole construction of Woolf's novel. Indeed, Virginia Wool offers many different point of view and describes the characters from various perspectives, a way to be as close of truth as possible. She undergoes a huge transformation throughout the novel. [...]

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