Rationalizing ‘identity’ through Virginia Woolf’s Lily Briscoe in To the Lighthouse
Keywords:Virginia Woolf, Lily Briscoe, Toni Morrison, To the Lighthouse, Identity, Race
The 1927 publication of Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse (2007) was a landmark for both the author and the development of the novel in England. Since Woolf's death in 1941, To The Lighthouse (2007) has risen in importance as a focus of criticism concerning issues of gender, empire, and class. This paper will not be focused on the narrative techniques used by Woolf as the ‘stream of consciousness’ has been covered excessively by many scholars. It rather repositions the novel within the critical framework laid out by Toni Morrison in two of her critical works, Playing in the Dark (1992) and The Origin of Others (2017), to extend Edward Said’s argument on hegemony as discussed in his Orientalism (2003) to rationalize Woolf’s own understanding of identity within a 21st century racial framework. The discussion of Morrison’s critical text invites, as I argue in the paper, re-positioning the the link between Mrs. Ramsay and Lily Briscoe into a new perspective, beyond the representation of Briscoe as simply an ‘Orient’. Morrison’s critical framework presents a more concise understanding of identity within the creative framework of literary texts to reflect a subjective conviction of the author in question.
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