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Gender Roles and Conflicts Expressed in Virginia Woolfs To the Lighthouse Time and time again gender-conflict has continued to be a focal issue Since the beginning of time this dilemma has been articulated through novels or other various forms of writing It is now brought to the publics attention in forms such as the news radio and the workplace Habitually asked are the age old questions of what is a mans place in society what is a womans place in society or is there a specific place for either Furthermore is there a genuine difference at all One critic explains Woolf reaches beyond personal relationships to explore mans wider relation to the Universe McNichol 1 In Virginia Woolfs novel To the Lighthouse the differences in male and female roles are a reoccurring theme that is ultimately answered by one character in her final days at the Ramseys home One of the central motifs in To the Lighthouse is the conflict between the feminine and masculine principles at work in the universe Within this symbolic framework Woolf probes the profound tensions at the core of all relationships between men and women McNichol 1 Two of the main characters that show the opposing sides are Mr Ramsey a self centered philosopher who feels that the duty of women is to cater to the needs of men and Mrs Ramsey an emotional old fashioned woman Their flaws consist of their limited views and beliefs The key factor in Woolfs novel is a character by the name of Lily Briscoe She is a painter and friend of the family who vacations at their home each summer With her perspective on life she thins out the line between male and female Not only does this character show the ideal role of malefemale in society but when picked apart ever so carefully she shows a version of Woolf herself Growing up in this type of society during the time period
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