In the novel, Lily is a painter and her paintings signify gender struggles, indicated by Charles Tansley’s assertion that women cannot write or even paint. Lily’s aspiration to convey Mrs. Ramsay’s quintessence as a mother and a wife in her painting imitates the desire among contemporary women to discern and comprehend familiarly the gendered endurance of the women who lived before them. The panting also signifies devotion to a feminine arty vision, conveyed through Lily’s angst over showing it to Bankes.
Lily decides that completing her painting despite what happens is the most vital thing and she makes a choice of creating her voice. At the end of the novel, she believes that her vision relies on “synthesis and balance”: how to draw-together different things in harmony. When going to the Lighthouse, she attempts to at-last complete the painting she has held-in-mind since the beginning of the book.
She re-evaluates the memories she held of Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay; she balances the different impressions from 10 years ago in trying to attain an objective truth concerning Mrs. Ramsay and life. Upon completing her painting, (just as they get to the lighthouse) and seeing that it pleases her, she realizes that executing her vision is imperative and essential to her than just the notion of leaving some kind of heritage in her work. In the novel, the authors report that “With a sudden intensity, as if she saw it clear for a second, she drew a line there, in the center. It was done; it was finished. Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision” (Woolf, 309).
Woolf, Virginia. To the Lighthouse. London: Harvest Books. 1989. Print.