It never ceases to amaze me how well thought-out and complicated Virginia Woolf’s writing is. I envy her thought process to no end, how I would love to be capable of paying such attention to the smallest of details. Even the title of the third section of this novel has an impact. “The Lighthouse,” how perfect is that? The entire novel is about so many different lives gradually heading to the lighthouse so how appropriate is it that the novel ends with “The Lighthouse?”
The end of this novel is so poetically precise – Lily’s painting is completed just as the boat reaches the lighthouse. The moment the boat reaches the lighthouse is so significant and pivotal to everyone in the novel that Lily knows that is has happened without any way of knowing. She just knows – there is no doubt in her statement of “He has landed” just pure confidence.
This moment is when Lily has her great inspiration. She instinctively moves back to her painting and simply draws a line in the middle. That’s all it takes; the painting is complete. With all the lines, the blues, the greens all it needed was one final stroke to bring it from blurry to sharp conclusion. So what exactly is Woolf implying here? Is she claiming that sometimes an entire life, like the painting, comes down to one single moment? Is it possible that any one of us can look into our past and point to one specific time and say “Yes, that is what it all comes down to – that is who I am”? Perhaps we really do have that one defining moment that changes us and determines everything we do from there on out. But I have to wonder, what does this mean for those who have not yet had that moment?