“Learning to cross a pool of thought with the lighthouse”
This is a lyrical essay reflection on my experience reading To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf during Literature Humanities last year. The narrative style Virginia Woolf is known for pioneering, stream of consciousness, intrigued me, and intensely affected the way I interpreted events occurring around me. For days after finishing the book, my mind was still processing information in the voice of Woolf's novel.
Literature Humanities, for me, was an experience focused on understanding history (with all its prejudices and perspectives) through storytelling. The style of To the Lighthouse in particular helped me understand the breadth of perspectives that a story needs to incorporate, so I explored stream of consciousness writing by tracing the events and interactions throughout the day I read To the Lighthouse.
In "Learning to cross a pool of thought with the lighthouse," reading the book is characterized as a stream the narrator repeatedly returns to. It acts as a balm to the frustration she feels that day: the book washes off and smoothes down all the little irritations of work and social interaction. The quotations are from To the Lighthouse, and include some of the lines that either helped change my perspective on reading or nearly paralleled my own thoughts. They also represent my progression through the book as time passes during the day. The essay is written in third person, without any names, to underscore that the people mentioned are characters (though they are based on real people, they are my personal versions of those people, and not absolutely accurate).
Carolina Rabinowicz (CC ’18) is a sophomore in Columbia College studying English. She is particularly interested in eighteenth century British literature and society, and the way literature from this period portrays human beings. In her free time, she enjoys creative writing, reading, and traveling.