Veggy Salsabilla Amijaya
which Inexpressible; An Analysis of Theme on Woolf’s “To the Lighthouse”
the Lighthouse,” by a well-known British stream-consciousness writer, Virginia
Wolf and was publish in 1927. She is honored as “the best female writer of the
20th century”. To the Lighthouse is considered as her best work by many
critics, reflecting her successful exploration and creativity in the narration
of modern novels. To the Lighthouse takes on some elements of Woolf’s own life:
she felt stifled by her father in much the same way that Mr. Ramsay squeezes
the life out of his children. And the sudden deaths of her mother and her
sister Stella left her in deep mourning (echoes of Mrs. Ramsay and Prue’s
deaths in To the Lighthouse). But, Woolf herself got fed up with critics who
insisted on reading the Ramsays as direct representations of the Stephens
(Stephen was Woolf’s maiden name). To the Lighthouse is also an extended
meditation on the relationship between art and life, and on late Victorian
family structures. (Source: Mark Massey, “Introduction,” To the Lighthouse.
Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Books, 2005, xlviii.). In this essay I am going to
analysis the theme (Love which Inexpressible) using narrative perspective of narratology
theory by Gérard Genette.
Genette’s work (1972 and 1983) fits into the German and Anglo-Saxon academic
tradition, and is intended to serve as both a culmination and a renewal of this
school of narratological criticism. We should point out that internal analysis,
like any semiotic analysis, exhibits two characteristics. Firstly, it is
concerned with narratives as independent linguistic objects, detached from
their context of production and reception. Secondly, it aims to reveal an
underlying structure that can be identified in many different narratives. Using
a rigorous typology, Genette has developed a theory of narratological poetics
that may be used to address the entire inventory of narrative processes in use.
According to Genette, every text discloses traces of narration, which can be
studied in order to understand exactly how the narrative is organized. The
approach advocated here clearly addresses a level that lies below the threshold
of interpretation, and as such, it constitutes a solid foundation,
complementing other research being done in the social sciences, e.g., in
sociology, literary history, ethnology and psychoanalysis.
distinction should be made between narrative voice and narrative perspective;
the latter is the point of view adopted by the narrator, which Genette calls
focalization. “So, by focalization I certainly mean a restriction of
‘field’ – actually, that is, a selection of narrative information with respect
to what was traditionally called omniscience” (1988, p. 74). These are
matters of perception: the one who perceives is not necessarily the one who
tells, and vice versa.
distinguishes three kinds of focalization:
focalization: The narrator knows more than the characters. He may know the
facts about all of the protagonists, as well as their thoughts and gestures.
This is the traditional “omniscient narrator”.
focalization: The narrator knows as much as the focal character. This character
filters the information provided to the reader. He cannot report the thoughts
of other characters.
focalization: The narrator knows less than the characters. He acts a bit like a
camera lens, following the protagonists’ actions and gestures from the outside;
he is unable to guess their thoughts.
examining the characteristics of a narrative instance and the particulars of
the narrative mood, we can clarify the mechanisms used in the narrative act,
and identify exactly what methodological choices the author made in order to
render his/her story. The use of different narratological processes creates
different effects for the reader. For example, one could have a hero-narrator
(auto diegetic narrator) who uses simultaneous narration and internal
focalization and whose speech is often in reported form. This would undoubtedly
produce a strong illusion of realism and credibility.
describes Mrs. Ramsay is loves everybody and everybody love Mrs. Ramsay but it
does not being told, it can be seen from muttered or act the character. In this
novel there is zero focalization or an omniscient narrator who has wide sight
concerning the character just like gods, who knows everything. According to
German Narratology Scholar F. K. Stanzel (1984, p. 89), given the factual
purpose, the omniscient narrator cannot appear all the time in the whole story
in any novel. His vision will sooner or later be confined or will temporarily
lose the final direction to the characters or events. At first part of the
novel, the omniscient narrator is tactfully exposed to the readers. We can see
from this subsequent:
what then? For she felt that he was still looking at her, but that his look had
changed. He wanted something—wanted the thing she always found it so difficult
to give him; wanted her to tell him that she loved him. And that, no, she could
not do. He found talking so much easier than she did. He could say things—she
never could. So naturally it was always he that said the things, and then for
some reason he would mind this suddenly, and would reproach her. A heartless
woman he called her; she never told him that she loved him. But it was not so—it
was not so. It was only that she never could say what she felt. Was there no
crumb on his coat? Nothing she could do for him? Getting up, she stood at the
window with the reddish-brown stocking in her hands, partly to turn away from
him, partly because she remembered how beautiful it often is—the sea at night.
But she knew that he had turned his head as she turned; he was watching her.
She knew that he was thinking, you are more beautiful than ever. And she felt
herself very beautiful. Will you not tell me just for once that you love me? He
was thinking that, for he was roused, what with Minta and his book, and its
being the end of the day and their having quarreled about going to the
Lighthouse. But she could not do it; she could not say it. Then, knowing that
he was watching her, instead of saying anything she turned, holding her
stocking, and looked at him. And as she looked at him she began to smile, for
though she had not said a word, he knew, of course he knew, that she loved him.
He could not deny it. And smiling she looked out of the window and said
(thinking to herself, nothing on earth can equal this happiness)—
you were right. It’s going to be wet tomorrow. You won’t be able to go.”
And she looked at him smiling. For she had triumphed again. She had not said
it: yet he knew.” (Virginia, 1989, p.99)
is the part where there are only Mr. Ramsay and Mrs. Ramsay. Evidently, the
description is not from Mrs. Ramsay, but from the nearby omniscient narrator. The
narrator can describe into the Mr. Ramsay’ heart, dig deep his thoughts and
emotions, and then give comments from a certain point of opinion. Such comments
are whole control of character’ state of mind, which endue the readers to look
out of the characters’ sincere emotion and psychic states in learning so that
they can better interpret the mental object and the meaning of the novel.
Likewise, from above, we can see that Mrs. Ramsay, who actually loves her
husband, but inexpressible with words and show that however her love does not
need to be pressed out in words but can be seen by her married man.
example from the theme is how Lily who was Mrs. Ramsay best friend loves Mrs.
Ramsay, but love in means that Lily adore with the way of life and personality
of Mrs. Ramsay. Can be seen from this:
it was then too, in that chill and windy way, as she began to paint, that there
forced themselves upon her other things, her own inadequacy, her
insignificance, keeping house for her father off the Brompton Road, and had
much ado to control her impulse to fling herself (thank Heaven she had always
resisted so far) at Mrs. Ramsay’s knee and say to her—but what could one say to
her? “I’m in love with you?” No, that was not true. “I’m in love
with this all,” waving her hand at the hedge, at the house, at the
children. It was absurd, it was impossible.” (Virginia, 1989, p. 17)
can be seen Lily love the way Mrs. Ramsay life but confused how to tell her. In
addition, love not just about want to marry somebody. Lily and Mrs. Ramsay shows
a love between a friendship relationship.
what that have been analyzed, the conclusion is in “To the Lighthouse”,
Virginia Wolf the author described love which inexpressible from character of
Mrs. Ramsay who is the wife of Mr. Ramsay and character of Lily as best friend
of Mrs. Ramsay. They are not telling “I
love you” to them doesn’t mean the were not, they just don’t know how to say it.
GENETTE, G., Figures III, Paris:
GENETTE, G., Narrative Discourse: An
Essay in Method, trans. Jane Lewin, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1980.
GENETTE, G., Nouveau discours du
récit, Paris: Seuil, 1983.
GENETTE, G., Narrative Discourse
Revisited, trans. J. Lewin, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1980.
ANGELET, C. and J. HERMAN,
“Narratologie”, in M. Delcroix and F. Hallyn (dir.), Introduction aux
études littéraires, Paris: Duculot, 1987 (consulted but not cited).
REUTER, Y., L’analyse du récit, Paris:
Dunod, 1987 (consulted but not cited).