Approaches to Teaching Woolf's To the Lighthouse
(First paragraph) At Old Dominion University, English majors must take one of the following courses-Postcolonial Literature, Literature by Minorities, African-American Literature, or Women Writers. In each course, our majors encounter new materials and perspectives. I teach Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse in Women Writers, a course in which students expect to explore feminist perspectives. Students range in age from nineteen lo sixty, but most are in their twenties or thirties. Frequently the first in their families to attend college, many come from conservative homes where feminist is a derogatory word. Therefore I find that the best way into a feminist novel like Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse is through biography and autobiography, and I point out that Woolf noted the autobiographical nature of this novel in her letters, diaries, and autobiographical fragments. Despite differences in class, national culture, and time period, most students can successfully relate to the concerns about marriage and work expressed by Woolf. Discovering links between and among her life, the novel, and their own lives helps them see, and empathize with, her feminist perspective.
Original Publication Citation
Bazin, N.T. (2001). Articulating the questions, searching for answers: How To the Lighthouse can help. In B. R. Daugherty and M. B. Pringle (Eds.), Approaches to teaching Woolf's To the Lighthouse (pp. 107-113). The Modern Language Association of America.
Bazin, Nancy Topping, "Articulating the Questions, Searching for Answers: How To the Lighthouse Can Help" (2001). English Faculty Publications. 135.