‘When Sometimes She Imagined Herself Like Her Mother’: The Contrasting Responses Of Cam And Mrs. Ramsay To The Role Of The Angel In The House. Cam is a striking character because of both her resistance to her mother’s promotion of the Angel in the House and her struggle to come to terms with her own identity as having been influenced by this Angel One way this meaning makes itself apparent in To the Lighthouse is through an analysis of the individual responses of Mrs. Ramsay and Cam to the role of the Angel in the House. Enacting the Angel role requires one to relinquish her independence. Mrs.
Ramsay sacrifices her independence, enacts the Angel role, and attempts to educate Cam to also relinquish her independence so as to adopt the Angel role as her own. Cam, however, is a rebellious daughter who struggles with her mother’s teachings and eventually responds to them by refusing to enact the Angel role. In doing so, she envisions and takes a first crucial step towards creating a hopeful future in which a modern woman may assert her independence, pursue her individual, unique cause, and surmount those who attempt to coerce her into what she perceives as the outdated Angel role. Analyzing Cam’s refusal to enact the Angel role allows meaning to surface, not just about the text and characters, but about the way enacting roles and refusing to enact roles influences one’s sense and perception of her identity. Cam also undergoes a painful process in which she, bothered and tormented by the influence of the Angel role, attempts to come to terms with this influence and to reject this role for herself.
... ever lived, withut any exceptin." In writing the Declaratin f Independence, Jeffersn drew heavily n the dctrines cncerning the general principles ... England. Below I will try to find and examine the influences of the aforementioned persons on one of the main documents ... know for sure that the Bible, Aristotle, and many others influenced the Declaration very much. However many argue that the primary ...
I do not propose, necessarily, to read Cam exclusively as Virginia Woolf because although the connections and similarities are too numerous to go unnoticed, they are not absolute, and looking to Cam for insights into Woolf can at times even be misleading. What I do propose is that, in light of Woolf’s rejection of the Angel role and consequent success as a writer, we give Cam her due as a modern woman who, like Woolf, suffers dreadfully at the hands of the Angel role, engages in a difficult struggle to free herself from its hold, and eventually liberates herself from its influence, thereby enabling her to emerge as independent and free to pursue her own meaningful, professional, and educational cause. Mrs. Ramsay finds several ways to educate James and Cam about how important it is for a woman to enact the Angel role. The day comprising “The Window” section, for example, is spent reading to James “The Fisherman and His Wife,” the story of the wretched fate of a woman who longs to directly enter into and enact change within the public sphere as a king, an emperor, and finally as a pope.
 The wife in this Grimm Brothers’ tale is ambitious, independent, determined, perseverant, and powerful as she seeks to be more and more influential. As a result, she is severely punished. This story validates Mrs. Ramsay’s chosen role as Angel and castigates the modern woman as one whose independence is harmful, unattractive, and therefore worthy of punishment. The message Mrs.
Ramsay thus conveys to James is that men should be wary of and ultimately reject women who possess traits characteristic of the modern woman since these traits will inevitably yield the demise of both the husband and the wife. The Angel in the House, Mrs. Ramsay teaches James, is the only proper role for a wife. James willingly absorbs Mrs. Ramsay’s lessons but Cam is far less malleable and much more resistant to her mother’s teachings.
... of their households" (Monaghan 42). In fact, the main role of women in Jane Austen's novels is household management. She mercilessly ... to the relationship between the Palmers, Austen presents Mr. and Mrs. John Dashwood. Mr. Dashwood pretends to make the financial decisions ... of rebellion. An example of this is Mrs. Gradgrind, whom he describes as a woman of "surpassing feebleness, mental and bodily... ...
Mrs. Ramsay and James “shared the same tastes and were comfortable together” (p. 56), and Cam is an anomaly when the three are together. When Mrs. Ramsay reads the Grimm Brothers’ tale to James, for example, Cam chooses to shoot out of the room rather than to listen to Mrs. Ramsay read the tale; apparently the only thing she finds alluring about this story is the word “Flounder.” Cam is by nature a rebellious daughter.
“The Window” depicts her dashing around, refusing to stop for anyone — Mr. Bankes, Lily, her father, her mother — and rejecting Mr. Bankes’s offered hand (p. 54).
Moreover, she refuses to sacrifice her own desires and needs in order to enact a role required to appease Mr.
Bankes. Cam races right past when Mr. Bankes, “who would have liked a daughter of his own,” holds out his hand to her. Moreover, she protests when she is told to “‘give a flower to the gentleman'” (p. 21) and absolutely refuses-“No! no! no! she would not! She clenched her fist. She stamped” (p.
22) -to succumb to the nursemaid’s lesson about how a young girl should act the sweet, submissive, angelic part towards gentlemen when given the chance. Cam will not be coerced into playing a role simply in order to appease the men in her life, and as a result she is labeled a “wild villain” (p. 54); villainy is here equated with Cam’s refusal to relinquish her independence. She is by nature free-thinking, independent, and resistant to any attempts by authority figures to coerce her into or even to suggest that she should enact the self-sacrificing Angel role. Such independence demonstrates Cam’s resistance to the Angel role and her embodiment of traits characteristic of the modern woman. Mrs.
Ramsay, however, is the one person in “The Window” who is capable of wearing down Cam’s independence and forcing her to enact the Angel role. Earlier in the day, before her rigid lesson about sacrificing herself to her brother’s demand that the pig’s skull remain intact and within view, Cam “was off like a bird, bullet, or arrow” (p. 54).
She ignores her mother’s first call, “But when Mrs.
Ramsay called ‘Cam!’ a second time, the projectile dropped in mid career, and Cam came lagging back to her mother.” Cam, however, though Mrs. Ramsay figuratively shoots her down, has not yet been completely subdued. Mrs. Ramsay wonders “what was she dreaming about” as Cam stands before her, Mrs. Ramsay notes, “engrossed, with some thought of her own, so that she had to repeat the message twice” (my emphasis).
... , but in the case are the actions of Jan, the role model, the law profession should be putting forth? Were the ... sought by action or suit.The point is that the word civil has a greater meaning that has been embraced by ... that they can seek justice in the system. Does the role model in this movie increase the trust of the public ... The word civil carries a lot of weight. The usage needs to ...
Ramsay notices Cam’s free-thinking independence and creativity. She recognizes that Cam does not accept her words verbatim, but instead must screen and modify them until they are her own before she will convey them to anyone else. Mrs. Ramsay’s words are merely “dropped into a well, where, if the waters were clear, they were also so extraordinarily distorting that, even as they descended, one saw them twisting about to make Heaven knows what pattern on the floor of the child’s mind. What message would Cam give the Cook? Mrs. Ramsay wondered” (pp.
Mrs. Ramsay’s words, once they leave her mouth, enter Cam’s independent mind where they will be altered and conveyed at Cam’s discretion. Mrs.
Ramsay, however, will not allow this free-thinking. Cam, upon returning from the kitchen, begins to describe to her mother her unique, individual perspective on the situation in the kitchen (“there was an old woman with very red cheeks, drinking soup out of a basin” [p. 55]), but Mrs. Ramsay stifles this free-thinking and “at last prompted that parrot-like instinct which had picked up Mildred’s words quite accurately and could now produce them, if one waited, in a colourless singsong.” Mrs.
Ramsay forces Cam to relinquish her creative hold on words and interpretation and to instead adopt others’ words as her own. Cam’s submission is complete at the end of this scene as she no longer thinks about or interprets the situation in the kitchen, but rather, repeats Mildred’s words verbatim: “‘No, they haven’t, and I’ve told Ellen to clear away tea.’ ” Later that night Mrs. Ramsay tries to convince Cam that the pig’s skull is “‘a nice black pig like the pigs at the farm'” (p. 114).
Cam initially will not accept her mother’s words or opinion as her own and instead insists, even argues, that the pig’s skull is “a horrid thing, branching at her all over the room.” By the end of the “lesson,” however, Cam is literally repeating Mrs. Ramsay’s words, verbatim, as she falls asleep in complete submission, articulating that the pig’s skull “was like a mountain, a bird’s nest, a garden, and there were little antelopes” (p.
... m stronger with a pen in my hand. My mind spins with thoughts that are like rain, I can't catch ... are bigger than both of us. When we speak the words fall from my lips. They aren't enough to ... I feel like a knife in a drawer, because my words have power. The possible damage would be irreparable. He ... how I feel, though they rarely know what I mean. Words fail me often, but nobody notices. They aren't ...
The scene out on the lawn illustrates the same situation. Cam begins her “lesson” with her own thoughts, perspective, words, and opinion, but after Mrs. Ramsay’s coaxing, Cam’s independent thinking is stifled and she sinks into submission by doing no thinking at all, but rather adopting the exact words and perspective of others as her own-a typical Angel trait.
The effect of Mrs. Ramsay’s teaching is severe as it wears and wears Cam into denying her innate, modern-woman independence and instead insists that she adopt the Angel role as her own. By the end of “The Window” Cam is learning to choose her actions according to what will please men rather than according to her own innate tendencies. She is learning that self-sacrifice must take precedence over maintaining one’s independence when others demand things frown her. She learns to stifle her own independent thoughts, opinions, and words in order to adopt others’ as her own, and she learns that most people around her-Mrs. Ramsay, Mr.
Bankes, the nursemaid, and James-prefer that she adopt the foreign Angel role rather than satisfy her own inherent, independent characteristics. In short, Cam demonstrates her tendency to want to nurture her innate modern woman qualities, but she is learning throughout the time comprising “The Window” that she must forsake these qualities and instead become an Angel in the House.  The third section of To the Lighthouse finds Cam still struggling against and trying to come to terms with her mother’s teachings.  The trip to the lighthouse is difficult for Cam as she wrestles with the influence Mrs. Ramsay’s teachings have had on her own sense and perception of her identity, as she tries in spite of these teachings to envision for herself a future as a modern woman, and as she still finds herself needing to resist others’ attempts to coerce her into the Angel role. Mr.
... relates her to Septimus in Mrs. Dalloway, who took his life to escape oppressing reality. Awareness of ... with the sense of memory. Mrs. Dalloway mostly takes place before World War I, and the rest ... the race for power and domination, want the world to adopt their belief system, thereby oppressing those ... yet legitimate communication. In the nineteenth century, World War I was a violent reality check for ...
Ramsay, in what could be perceived as an effort to instill in Cam a sense of her identity as linked to times passed, tells Cam to look for their house on the island. Cam, irritated, thinks that “to be forced, from no will of one’s own-to be cruelly, sitting in the boat looking at that island was an astonishing fact” (p. 319 h).
Cam has little interest in satisfying her father’s need for her to identify with her past.
Reluctantly, she looks up, but she will not see what her father wishes her to see. She gazes at the island, but even the shore looks “far away, unreal” (p. 166).
The house itself seems invisible to Cam since “already the little distance they had sailed had put them far from it and given it the changed look, the composed look, of something receding in which one has no longer any part.” All things associated with the house, Cam feels, “were gone: were rubbed out; were past; were unreal, and now this was real; the boat and the sail with its patch” (pp. 166-67).
Cam, in this scene, is reluctant to look towards the past, and all she sees when she is pressed to look behind her is a past that is gone, unreal, and which looks different when one perceives it from the enlightened, privileged perspective which time and distance provide.
Cam, as a result of this new perspective, is at this moment interested in thinking only about the reality of the present. Just as Cam is reveling in her new sense of the present, however, “her father’s words broke and broke again in her mind” (p. 167) until she relapses into her old enforced habit of relinquishing her own thoughts and opinions in order to repeat others’ words verbatim. At this moment, Mr. Ramsay, after having misread Cam’s inability to see the house, assuming instead that “She was shortsighted, like her mother. She could see nothing clearly” (p.
285 h), mocks Cam for not knowing the points of a compass. He ridicules Cam until she is frightened, he annoyed, and concludes that “tie thought, women are always like that; the vagueness of their minds is hopeless; it was a thing he had never been able to understand; but so it was. It had been so with her-his wife” (p. 167).
... range of social control methods. The World State has soma, Oceania has the Thought Police. The World State endorses free sexual love with ... But what use was it to say so His mind shrivelled as he thought of the unanswerable, mad arguments with which OBrien ... the Cockney rhyme Oranges and Lemons. This striving calls to mind Watsons frustration as he struggles to articulate something his society ...
Mr. Ramsay underestimates Cam’s potential as a modern woman, assumes she is an Angel like Mrs.
Ramsay, and Cam, as a result, becomes scared of his “half laughing at her, half scolding her.” She watches Macalister’s boy tug the hook out of the mackerel lying kicking on the floor of the boat with blood on its gills, an objectification of the mutilation of her own modem woman traits, and concludes this section, not surprisingly, looking sadly at the shore and envying life in a place where there is no suffering (p. 170).
Cam dips her hand in the water “as her mind made the green swirls and streaks into patterns and, numbed and shrouded, wandered in imagination in that underworld of waters where the pearls stuck in clusters to white sprays” (p. 183).
Critics typically see this scene as evidence of Cam’s suicidal fantasy, and I agree that the wording here suggests death imagery, but I think it is important to note that it is Cam’s mind-not her body — which in this passage is numbed and shrouded. Most importantly, the wording quoted here also resembles Mrs.
Ramsay’s comment, worth quoting again here for the sake of comparison, that others’ words, to Cam, seem “to drop into a well, where, if the waters were clear, they were also so extraordinarily distorting that, even as they descended, one saw them twisting about to make Heaven knows what pattern on the floor of the child’s mind” (pp. 54-55).
Cam’s creative mind, when functioning at its full potential, takes possession of others’ words and shapes them, modifies them until they are her own; in doing so, Cam is able to realize her free-thinking independence. It may be possible, then, to see this scene as illustrating Cam’s mind, numbed and shrouded from Mrs.
Ramsay’s influential lesson out on the lawn, slowly regaining its independent tendency to form her own thoughts as they twist, turn, swirl in water and form patterns in her mind. In utilizing her mind in this creative way, both out on the lawn with Mrs. Ramsay and in this scene in the boat on the way to the lighthouse, Cam recaptures the independent thoughts absent during the moments when she is forced or feels compelled to merely reiterate others’ words verbatim. As Cam dips her hand in the water, as her mind indulges itself in imagination, she once again looks at this island, notes that it seems so small, and once again recovers her independent creativity as she “tells herself a story of adventure about escaping from a sinking ship” (p. 188).
In doing so, Cam circles back to her mind frame on the lawn before Mrs.
Ramsay truncates her creative, imaginative story, and regains, without interruption this time, her innate tendency to think her own creative thoughts and shape others’ thoughts until they are her own. The story Cam tells herself as she lulls herself out of her drowsy lethargy is a story of escape from a mortal situation. During isolated moments of regression, usually sparked by an incident in which her modern woman traits are further mutilated, Cam envies the ghosts resting in the outdated, receding past, but thoughts of suicide repel and often terrify her. When her father even articulates the mournful thought of dying at sea Cam “half started on her seat.
It shocked her-it outraged her” (p. 166).
Cam “imagined dying, like these fish, beating their tails up and down in a pool of water on the bottom of the boat” (p. 354 h), but when she catches a fish, when Macalister’s boy jerks the hook out, when she actually sees the fish dying and recognizes that she played an integral part in this fish’s suffering, “Cam all together shut up.
She would not bait the hook again” (p. 350 h).
Cam is horrified that she had any part in the killing of a fish whose suffering she time and time again parallels to her own situation. In refusing to bait another hook and risk killing another fish, she also, then, refuses to have any part in her own death.
Moreover, Cam imagines the men in the ship drowning (pp. 354-55 h), but she twice envisions herself escaping from a sinking ship (pp. 188, 190); the implication is that Cam wishes to escape to a situation where she will live rather than perishing in a situation in which she will otherwise be drowned. Cam tells herself fictitious stories about escaping, but the imaginative world does not offer Cam the life she covets. She decides that “she did not want to tell herself seriously a story; it was the sense of adventure and escape that she wanted” (p. 188).
The imaginative world does not suffice as it did when she was a child. Cam now “tells herself a story but knows at the same time what was the truth” (p. 205).
She now wants to escape on an adventure to a world replete with adventure and escape, one that exists outside her imagination.
She reflects on her father’s anger towards her, James’s obstinacy, her suffering, and decides that letting it go will enable her — not to be with the ghosts, for she feels “a fountain of joy that she should be alive, that she should be there” (p. 189) -but rather to escape on an adventure to “a world not realised but turning in their darkness, catching here and there, a spark of light; Greece, Rome, Constantinople” (my emphasis).
Cam, immediately after articulating to herself her desire to escape to a world not yet realised, reflects that every place has its time in history. Even the island, “small as it was, and shaped something like a leaf stood on its end with the gold-sprinkled waters flowing in and about it, it had, she supposed, a place in the universe” (p.
A leaf, critics commonly note, is associated in “The Lighthouse” with Mrs. Ramsay and her influence. Thus, in wondering about the island in its leaf-like form, Cam, by association, thinks about Mrs. Ramsay’s teachings and influence as a phase in history which merits understanding as part of a consequential, distant, and seemingly unreal past, but which does not necessarily hold a place in the future. Thus, in seeing the island as receding and distant from the new perspective on the boat (a perspective free from Mrs.
Ramsay’s direct control), Cam sees Mrs. Ramsay’s way of life as part of a past to which she does not want to return. Mr. Ramsay, Cam notes with envy, escapes from the frustration of his world through reading (p. 203), and Cam, also, wants to escape to a world where she may educate herself, think, and become a historian and a philosopher.
The world to which she longs to escape, therefore, is a world where women enact different roles from those they used to play, a world where women can realize their full potential. This world is not yet realized, but it is catching sparks of light here and there, and Cam feels up to the challenge of taking the first steps to not only envision but create this world. She envisions herself as a leader directing the “survivors of disaster, and all depended upon her catching a fish” (p. 319 h).
She feels “wildly excited” and “looked beside herself with excitement” (p. 350 h) when she does, in fact, catch a fish, thereby confirming her success as the leader of the survivors. Again, she is crestfallen a moment later when she realizes she has hurt the fish, but the joy she experiences upon recognizing that she is able to catch the fish, and that she has therefore proven herself a successful leader through her own means, demonstrates her own confidence in her ability to lead the survivors of disaster into a new world. Cam is a pioneer in this world not yet fully realised, however. Thus, her escape to and actualization of this world, she understands, will be quite difficult since it is a world in which only the patriarchy currently provides answers to the kinds of questions she has and in which men laugh at women who even ask such questions. In this world Cam may “with new zest apply herself to all those familiar half-solved questions which, she took up at odd intervals and carried a little further; let alone, and then again explored; how the world had come into existence; about the ancient civilisations of Egyptians; Greeks and the Byzantine empire; whoever might be Shakespeare and camels and tribes marching about the world; their conglomerations in cities like Athens, Rome, London” (p.
Cam brings these questions, along with the question of the place of the island in the universe (Mrs. Ramsay’s Angel role and influence), into the study with her to pose to the gentlemen. These questions, however, she can only pose “Silently, of course, without asking him [Mr.
Ramsay] about anything; for that would have been impossible.” Cam demonstrates impressively sharp and perceptive judgment in her decision not to pose such questions to a man who insists that she is almost entirely comprised of Angel traits and who, after reflecting upon the hopeless vagueness of women’s minds, asks himself the rhetorical question, “did he not rather like this vagueness in women? It was part of their extraordinary charm” (p. 167).
Mr. Ramsay’s opinions are inflexible, Cam recognizes, and his answers to these questions are “incontrovertible” (p. 320 h).
He believes himself able to assert his opinions “with complete mastery” and refuses to allow them to become disordered.
He “walked among all the incoherent, the wild and tumultuous ideas that come to her [Cam]” with a type of sarcasm which “seemed to laugh at her own strangeness” and “which sometimes made her blood boil.” (p. 320 h).
She therefore relies on herself to answer these questions, and her independent mind analyzes, shapes, and forms its own opinion while she listens to others express their thoughts.  Cam, while in the study, listens to the men’s thoughts, but she does not adopt their opinions as her own.
Rather, she stands in the study and allows “whatever one thought expand here like a leaf in water” (p. 189).
Just as Cam took Mrs. Ramsay’s words spoken to her out on the lawn and modified and expanded them in the waters of her imagination until they were her own, she also takes the men’s thoughts expressed in the study and allows them to alter, to twist in the water, and to make their own pattern in her mind. If these modifications / expansions do well in her mind as she quietly stands in the study, “then it was right” (p. 322 h).
Cam “would like him [Mr. Ramsay] to approve of her thoughts, but not to know them, she liked this so much, she felt exalted” (p. 323 h).
It would be nice for Mr. Ramsay to offer confirmation, Cam thinks, but it is not necessary, and she feels just as exalted and content without receiving his approval.
Going “on with whatever was in her mind in his presence,” Cam recognizes, “pleased her & she felt herself to be of a very exalted world; a more exalted world than the picking up of odds & ends of what they said” (p. 322 h).
Her world of forming her own opinions is more exalted than passively listening to and adopting the men’s thoughts as her own because her opinions, she recognizes, are the ones which matter. One recalls that Mrs. Ramsay, while out on the lawn with Cam, observes Cam’s tendency to shape and modify Mrs. Ramsay’s words until once more, they are Cam’s own before she conveys then] to the cook.
It is likely, then, that Cam, just as she has demonstrated the capacity to regain her ability to form her own thoughts, will in this new world regain her ability to verbally convey to others the opinions she forms for herself. Cam recalls that during her moments with the men in the study her father would ask her, when he saw her reading a book, “Was there nothing he could give her?” (p. 190).
 These words echo the words Mr.
Ramsay chooses — “Had she everything she wanted?” (p. 15 l) -when he approaches lily out on the terrace in a moment “when an enormous need urged him, without being conscious what it was, to approach any woman, to force them, he did not care how, his need was so great, to give him what he wanted.” One wonders, then, if Mr. Ramsay, after asking Cam if he might get her something, attempts to coerce her in some way just as he tries to coerce Lily out on the terrace. Cam, shortly after she reflects upon these times in the study, murmurs her father’s words verbatim about “how we perished, each alone” (p. 191).
She is vulnerable in the study and susceptible to adopting others’ words and opinions as her own if she does not constantly and absolutely resist the people who attempt to compel her into the Angel role of having no thoughts of her own. The study is a place where one may learn, expand her mind, analyze and modify one’s opinions and the opinions of others, and it thus is an enlightening, invigorating place in which a modern woman pioneer may learn; but the study, Cam realizes, is also a place of patriarchal danger. She therefore remains silent while in the presence of these men so that her own embryonic opinions may be allowed to grow and mature before she conveys them to others, while being tainted as little as possible by her father who believes her to be an Angel and who scoffs at and ridicules her attempts to be otherwise. Cam’s ambivalence about her experience in the study also exists regarding her feelings about her father. She understands the limitations he presents as well as the threat of his tyranny, yet Mrs. Ramsay’s promotion of the Angel role has evidently made a severe impression on Cam and still affects her as she sits in the boat and idealizes her father.
Mrs. Ramsay’s lesson about the skull interrupts Cam’s thinking just as Cam looks at the island and perceives of it as so small that its leaf-like shape is hardly visible and has just about disappeared. As before, Cam, who under Mrs. Ramsay’s guidance fell asleep repeating verbatim her mother’s words, once again at this moment — just as she believes the island has nearly disappeared-repeats these same words-“it was a valley, full of birds, and flowers, and antelopes” (p. 204) -as she Falls asleep on the boat.
Cam, though resistant, has been conditioned to enact the role of the Angel, and she therefore while on the boat occasionally regresses and lapses back into the moments during her childhood when Mrs. Ramsay’s teachings had successfully coerced her into submission to the Angel role. During these moments, Cam often mimics her mother’s behavior of idolizing Mr. Ramsay. She idealizes his appearance and capabilities (pp. 165, 169, 190), but Cam also associates Macalister’s boy’s mutilation of a fish with Mr.
Ramsay’s “crass blindness and tyranny which had poisoned her childhood so that even now she woke in the night trembling with rage” (pp. 169-70).
Cam sometimes perceives of Mr. Ramsay as her preserver. When she is in the study, for example, Cam thinks that she “can go on thinking whatever I like, and I shan’t fall over a precipice or be drowned, for there he is, keeping his eye on me” (p. 205).
A moment later, however, Cam wonders if “he was leading them on a great expedition where, for all she knew, they would be drowned.” Her ambivalence towards Mr. Ramsay is understandable as she wrestles to break free from a binding past which merited her idealization of her father. Cam is hardly oblivious to the threat Mr. Ramsay poses, but her inner struggle with her perception of him is intense as she sits in the boat visualizing him sometimes as a serious hindrance to her modern woman capabilities, sometimes as not absolutely or exclusively tyrannical, and sometimes from the perspective of someone who has been conditioned to idealize men and behold them from the viewpoint of an Angel in the House.
Louise De Salvo states that it is Cam’s “ambivalence towards him [Mr. Ramsay], and the extremes of her emotions, that are so maddening.”  Cam’s ambivalence, however, though certainly maddening, also makes her capable of verifying her perception of Mr. Ramsay during what she perceives as his occasional untyrannical moments. Her recognition of him during the infrequent moments when he does not appear to her to be a tyrant empowers her to resist James who has taken it upon himself to continue his father’s tyranny into the next generation.
At the beginning of the long awaited trip to the lighthouse, James and Cam are united in their hatred for Mr. Ramsay’s tyranny. Together they decide to enforce their belligerence, as “they vowed to stand by each other and carry out the great compact — to resist tyranny to the death” (p. 163).
Cam’s dedication to the compact, however, is far less devout than is James’s. Her idealization of Mr.
Ramsay, she understands, conflicts with her hatred of his tyranny — she “feels proud of him without knowing quite why” (p. 164) -and she tries to subdue her reverence for him by reminding herself of the reasoning behind the compact: “But she remembered. There was the compact; to resist tyranny to the death. Their grievance weighed them down.
They had been forced; they had been bidden” (p. 165).
Doing so, however, mandates her submission to James’s dictates. James senses each time his sister longs to break the compact, and he dominates her with their silent conversation. James thinks, when he hears Mr. Ramsay ask Cam about the puppy, that “now she will give way.
I shall be left to fight the tyrant alone” (p. 168).
He recognizes that his ally is wavering and that “The compact would be left to him to carry out. Cam would never resist tyranny to the death.” Still he tries to overpower her hesitancy, as he silently demands of her that she “Resist him. Fight him.” James’s fear, as he sits in the boat, that “his father would slap the covers of his book together, and say: ‘What’s happening now? What are we dawdling about here for, eh?’ ” arouses within him a memory of Mr. Ramsay who, when James was a child, “brought his blade down among them on the terrace and she had gone stiff all over, and if there had been an axe handy, a knife, or anything with a sharp point he would have seized it and struck his father through the heart” (p.
James remembers in this encounter that his father, the tyrant, was stabbing, while James was only imagining his potential to stab; thus, James associates the use of a knife with practicing tyranny and the inability to use a knife with impotency. When James was a child his father maintained control over the knife, while he was left “impotent, ridiculous, sitting on the floor grasping a pair of scissors” (p. 187).
James loathes the days when he was powerless to utilize the knife, and he, while in the boat, now wants to stab-not his father himself-but his father’s tyranny. James, upon doing so, may at that point step into his new role as the next-generation tyrant who has shed his impotency and is now capable of using the knife he previously could only dream of controlling.
James as a child imagines stabbing his father, but James’s memories in this third section recall his father doing the stabbing while the young James sat powerless to move. He envied his father’s power to use the knife, in part, because this power enabled Mr. Ramsay to maintain full control of Mrs. Ramsay’s attention. Mr.
Ramsay’s stabbing capability often lured Mrs. Ramsay away from James. James was enraged that Mrs. Ramsay, when Mr. Ramsay “brought his blade down among them on the terrace,” goes to Mr.
Ramsay “so that he [James] felt she listened to him no longer, she had risen somehow and gone away and left him there” (p. 187).
James believed, during these childhood years, that if he imitated Mr. Ramsay’s behavior, if he seized a knife to strike with, then Mrs. Ramsay would remain with him rather than favoring her husband who controls the knife. James’s envy of and hatred for his father’s ability to lure his mother away from James is usually discussed in Oedipal terms,  but James’s desire to demand and receive Mrs.
Ramsay’s undivided and absolute attention also significantly affects Cam. James exercises his newfound tyrannical tendencies in “The Lighthouse” by attempting to force Cam into the role he wanted his mother to play for him. James, through his silent communication, glances, and dedication to the compact, forces Cam onto his side and coerces her into “fighting tyranny to the death” with him, though her loyalty to the compact is precarious. In this sense, James summons Cam to replace Mrs.
Ramsay as the one whose loyalty and physical presence he aims to fully possess. Moreover, James at one point actually looks at Cam and sees his mother. James, when Cam first breaks the compact by answering her father’s inquiry about who is taking care of the puppy, notes, disgustedly, that “She ” ll give way” (p. 168).
James then looks at Cam, “watched a look come upon her face,” and connects Cam’s face, and her tendency to abandon him, with that of his mother: “[it was] a look he remembered.
They look down, he thought, at their knitting or something. Then suddenly they look up. There was a flash of blue, he remembered, and then somebody sitting with him laughed, surrendered, and he was very angry. It must have been his mother” (pp. 168-69).
James associates Mrs.
Ramsay’s abandonment of him with her “surrendering” to Mr. Ramsay, but Cam, he insists, must not leave him or surrender as did his mother. She must, James thinks, stay on his side at all times. James sees Cam’s loyalty to the compact wavering, but he insists that “No, she won’t give way, she’s different [from his mother]” (p. 169).
Cam is different from his mother, James believes, in that she must not be torn between James and Mr.
Ramsay, but rather, must relinquish her independence and give her full attention, loyalty, and love to only James. This time, James resolves, his father will be abandoned when “he [James] might be quit of it all. They [James and Cam] might land somewhere; and be free then” (p. 165).
James demands from Cam the fidelity and absolute physical presence and attention he felt he did not get from his mother. Cam, throughout the entire trip to the lighthouse, vacillates; between being loyal to James and wanting to break the compact.
Though she continually reminds herself of the reasoning behind the compact, though James constantly bears down upon her, ironically commanding her to resist tyranny, Cam cannot deny her need to assent to her own beliefs rather than to subordinate herself to James’s demands. Finally, Cam exercises her independent decisiveness as she decides ” (now sitting in the boat) he was not vain, nor a tyrant” (p. 190, my emphasis).
She looks at Mr. Ramsay in the boat in order to confirm her realization, “Lest this should be wrong,” and verifies that “No; it was right.” Cam refuses to let James command her instincts; she recognizes that James is trying to command her, but she will not yield to him.
“The tie between her and James sagged a little. It slackened a little” (p. 165), she sees, and instead of blindly submitting to her brother, the tyrant, Cam takes it upon herself to try to make James adopt her opinion as his own. “‘But look!’ she said, looking at him. ‘Look at him now'” (p.
190, my emphasis).
Cam feels that her father occasionally appears, during particularly specific instances, not to be a tyrant, and she uses her perception during these moments to further her cause of resisting the future of tyranny. Cam wants James to see Mr. Ramsay as she does at this precise moment, in his untyrannical state, “reading the little book with his legs curled.” She also points out to James that he was wrong in insisting that “They must think that he [Mr.
Ramsay] was perfectly indifferent,” because, she silently conveys to him, “His father had praised him. But you ” ve got it now” (p. 206. ).
James, throughout the last part of the novel, is obsessed with the idea that his father will at one moment “rouse himself, shut his book, and say something sharp” (p. 187).
James waits for this criticism, anticipates it, and almost seems to look forward to it, because the moment Mr. Ramsay criticizes him is the moment that James finally gets to usurp control of the knife (pp. 183-84).
But James, Cam points out to him, is wrong.
 Mr. Ramsay never criticizes him once throughout the entire trip even when “the sail sagged entirely; there they came to a stop, flapping about waiting for a breeze, in the hot sun, miles from shore, miles from the Lighthouse” (p. 183).
James struggles a great deal in this final section of the novel as he not only holds onto his mother’s influence, but tries to impose a modified version of the role she played for him onto Cam.
Cam, however, absolutely refuses to surrender herself to his silent demands. She will not sacrifice her independence so as to adopt a role in order to appease James, and in choosing to satisfy her needs rather than those of James, Cam revises the lesson Mrs. Ramsay imposed on her regarding the pig’s skull. Mrs. Ramsay taught Cam that night to deny her needs, to stop quarreling and consequently relinquish her independence, and to act in a way that accommodates James’s desires and dictates.
In part 3, however, Cam refuses to enact this Angel role. She is freethinking with independent thoughts of her own. She will not give in to James’s oppression. Rather, she conveys her opinions to him via their silent conversation and is thereby able to resist the future of tyranny embodied in James. Cam’s verbal silence therefore proves to be quite powerful as she uses it to resist the future of tyranny. In doing so, she begins to negate the lessons Mrs.
Ramsay taught James and takes the first step towards creating a world in which a modern woman may emerge. Elizabeth Abel states that “studying the past, she [Cam] also learns to privilege it. By the time of ‘The Lighthouse’ Cam is expert at gazing backward, at translating images of a shifting present into the framework of the past” (p. 62).
Cam spends the trip to the lighthouse gazing backward and grappling with the relation of her present to the experiences of the past, but she does so, I believe, as a necessary precondition to looking forward to “a future which it was dazzling to contemplate” (p. 320 h).
 Cam must consider the lessons Mrs. Ramsay taught James, the place of the island in history, her father’s anger about the compass, and her experiences in the study, for example, so as to begin to contemplate “What then came next? Where were they going?” (p. 189).
The bow, therefore, becomes symbolic in linking past and present to future.
Cam’s place in the bow of the boat, a place enabling her to most clearly look back at the island, is also the place providing the means whereby one may most easily and directly proceed forward onto the rock leading to the lighthouse. Mr. Ramsay “rose and stood in the bow of the boat” so as to “spring, lightly like a young man, holding his parcel, on to the rock” (p. 207).
Cam rises to follow him, and is presumably the next, since she is already in the bow, to step onto the rock. The bow, then, enables Cam to grapple with her past and also connects her to the rock, thereby enabling her to take the next step into her future.
This future looks promising, for it consists of a world where Cam, the leader of a group of survivors, believes she is a being with “extraordinary capacities for feeling everything here and now” (p. 320 h); demonstrates sharp perception allowing her to sense danger and react to it in a way that protects her independent embryonic, malleable thoughts; and proves herself capable of preventing the future of tyranny from being able to assert itself. Moreover, she will find upon returning to the island another modern woman who, like Cam, experiences moments of regression, but for the most part thinks that “She had escaped by the skin of her teeth” (p. 176).
This modern woman, like Cam, believes that “Mrs. Ramsay has faded and gone.
We can over-ride her wishes, improve away her limited, old-fashioned ideas. She recedes further and further from us. Life has changed completely. At that all her being, even her beauty, became for a moment dusty and out of date” (pp. 174-75).
Perhaps most importantly, Lily, upon nicking the catch of her paint box, finds that “the nick seemed to surround in a circle forever… that wild villain, Cam, dashing past” (p. 54).
Cam’s modern woman traits, then, in some everlasting sense, are thus forever preserved by Lily in a timeless circle.
Towards the end of the original version of the novel, Cam, upon reflecting on the moments when she “might be blind with rage” and experiences “the agony, the suffocation, of his tyranny,” smiles “as she did when sometimes she imagined herself like her mother” (p. 356 h).
The holograph version reveals that Woolf scratched a bold line though these lines in which Cam blatantly identifies with her mother. It is as if the idea of Cam imagining herself as her mother, even in a brief moment of regression, were too painful, too extreme, for Woolf to envision, and so the thought, the words, were eliminated as if putting them there had been a mistake. Cam’s journey to the lighthouse is difficult as she struggles with the influence Mrs.
Ramsay’s lessons have clearly had on her sense and perception of her identity, but Woolf could not take her fictitious counterpart to the point of blatantly identifying herself with her mother. Woolf chose, rather, that Cam struggle with her mother’s influence, but also experience vivid moments of triumph and certainly much promise as she develops her sense and perception of herself as a modern woman, as one who has rejected and refused to enact the role of the Angel in the House. Cam, therefore, offers a striking alternative to her mother in that she refuses to enact the Angel role whereas Mrs. Ramsay embraces it. Cam, unlike Mrs. Ramsay who promotes the Angel and the future of tyranny, takes it upon herself to resist and prevent them from asserting themselves.
Perhaps most importantly, whereas Mrs. Ramsay relinquished her independence and was therefore forced into a position where she could only envision her potential as a modern woman, Cam demonstrates she is capable of actualizing her potential as a modern woman and emerges as an independent, free-thinking, free-speaking, ambitious individual. In doing so, she offers a wonderfully rich rendition of the modern woman as one who merits attention because of the promise and strength of her indepen.