How is India represented in ‘To The Lighthouse’?
India is referred 6 times in the novel. (The blog is a draft. . . will be updated soon with detailed interpretation of the representation of India in the novel)
Here are the lines and the context in which they are mentioned:
Reference: India is ruled by the men-folk.
2) She was now
formidable to behold, and it was only in silence, looking up from their plates,
after she had spoken so severely about Charles Tansley, that her daughters,
Prue, Nancy, Rose—could sport with infidel ideas which they had brewed for
themselves of a life different from hers; in Paris, perhaps; a wilder life; not
always taking care of some man or other; for there was in all their minds a
mute questioning of deference and chivalry, of the Bank of England and the Indian Empire, of ringed
fingers and lace, though to them all there was something in this of the essence
of beauty, which called out the manliness in their girlish hearts, and made
them, as they sat at table beneath their mother’s eyes, honour her strange
severity, her extreme courtesy, like a queen’s raising from the mud to wash a beggar’s dirty foot,
when she admonished them so very severely about that wretched atheist who had chased them—or,
speaking accurately, been invited to stay with them—in the Isle of Skye.
Reference: India is exotic place where lies great romance,
adventure and happiness
3) Holding her black parasol very erect, and moving with an indescribable air of expectation, as if she were going to meet some one round the corner, she told the story; an affair at Oxford with some girl; an early marriage; poverty; going to India; translating a little poetry “very beautifully, I believe,” being willing to teach the boys Persian or Hindustanee, but what really was the use of that?—and then lying, as they saw him, on the lawn.
Reference: Augustus Carmichael’s going to India is considered as some sort of achievement.
4) There were all the places she had not seen; the Indian plains; she felt herself pushing aside the thick leather curtain of a church in Rome
Reference: India is referred as place of desire. . . a desire to visit.
5) They had all the trays of her jewel-case open. The gold necklace, which was Italian, or the opal necklace, which Uncle James had brought her from India; or should she wear her amethysts?
Reference: Made in India jewelry is a thing to be possessed – owned with pride
6) The autumn trees, ravaged as they are, take on the flash of tattered flags kindling in the gloom of cool cathedral caves where gold letters on marble pages describe death in battle and how bones bleach and burn far away in Indian sands.
Reference: Some land which is far away – unknown land, the exotic land.