The Question:

What impact does family have during the different stages of our lives?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Adopted Family

The family is a haven in a heartless world. ~Attributed to Christopher Lasch

What is a person to do then, if they have no family? What other haven could compete with a family?

This is the case for Virginia Woolf’s character, Lily, in her novel To the Lighthouse. Lily’s family is never mentioned and even though she is a grown woman, she has never been married. Lily seems to find her haven in her art, but I believe that only offers partial satisfaction for Lily.

One of the main motifs the reader sees presented in this novel is that of Lily’s painting; this is what truly brings peace to Lily and brings meaning to the chaos seen between all the characters. Lily’s painting was inspired by Mrs. Ramsay and her family and would not have been created if it were not for the impact the Ramsay family had on Lily.

Even though Lily was not a member of the Ramsay family, she was impacted by them enough so that most of her thoughts had to do with none other than the Ramsay family.

Why was she so interested in the Ramsay family?

I believe it is because of the impact they had on her. She watched them interact every single day and learned so much from them. So much, in fact, that she arguably became part of their family. Family doesn’t always mean blood relation; I believe family has more to do with the social connection shared than by whether or not you share the same DNA. Family is important to everyone because of the impact it has- it undoubtedly had an impact on Lily.

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