To the Lighthouse

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James Ramsay Character Analysis

One of Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay’s children, James is as bitter and resentful of his father as a six-year-old in Chapter 1 as he is as a sixteen-year-old in Chapter 3. Yet, by Chapter 3, James has learned to distinguish between his father’s person and his father’s imperious moods and can identify some of his own similarities to Mr. Ramsay.
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James Ramsay Character Timeline in To the Lighthouse

The timeline below shows where the character James Ramsay appears in To the Lighthouse. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Window, 1
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...a summerhouse on the Isle of Skye with Mrs. Ramsay, Mr. Ramsay, their little son James (who is cutting pictures from a magazine), and Mr. Ramsey’s student Charles Tansley. The first... (full context)
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...hate him. She remembers having invited him to run errands in town with her and James after discovering him one day deserted by everyone else. She had reflected then on how... (full context)
The Window, 2
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...the scene on which the book opened, Mr. Tansley repeats: “No going to the Lighthouse, James,” and though he inwardly attempts to make his voice sound nice “in deference to Mrs.... (full context)
The Window, 3
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Mrs. Ramsay attempts to comfort James by reminding him there is still a chance the weather the next day will be... (full context)
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...half said, half chanted,” feels “soothed” and “assured again” and continues looking for pictures for James. Mr. Ramsay suddenly shouts, but Mrs. Ramsay sees that only Lily Briscoe is present to... (full context)
The Window, 5
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...they do go to the Lighthouse the next day, tries to measure it against fidgety James’ leg. Glimpsing the shabby living room about her, she wonders what will become of the... (full context)
The Window, 6
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...in his own splendor….shattered.” She knows not to speak to him but focuses instead on James and, looking up after a bit, sees that Mr. Ramsay has come round again with... (full context)
The Window, 7
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James resents his father for interrupting him and his mother, hating “the twang and twitter of... (full context)
The Window, 8
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...focusing on the story of the Fisherman and his Wife that she is reading to James. (full context)
The Window, 10
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...All along, Mrs. Ramsay continues reading the story of the Fisherman and his Wife to James, in which the wife, frustrated that the Fisherman does not want to be king, announces... (full context)
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Mrs. Ramsay looks at James and wishes he and Cam could stay their age forever. She thinks of each of... (full context)
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...and have children, and wonders if she has pressured Minta. Finishing the story, she watches James and sees he is about to ask about the Lighthouse when taken to bed by... (full context)
The Window, 11
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With James gone, Mrs. Ramsay relishes being alone. Her whole being “shrunk, with a sense of solemnity,... (full context)
The Window, 18
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Entering the nursery, Mrs. Ramsay is annoyed to find James and Cam still awake, arguing about the pig skull on the wall (which had been... (full context)
The Lighthouse, 1
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...at the breakfast table feeling how strange and unreal everything seems. Mr. Ramsay, Cam, and James are supposed to go to the Lighthouse but are late and disorganized. Nancy asks Lily... (full context)
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...the six children, “’You’ll find us much changed.’” Then he had ordered teenage Cam and James to be ready for an early trip to the Lighthouse the next morning, which they... (full context)
The Lighthouse, 2
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...tying her boot, “he seemed to her a figure of infinite pathos.” When Cam and James finally appear looking unenthusiastic, Lily feels annoyed with them for not showing their father more... (full context)
The Lighthouse, 3
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...walks to the lawn’s edge to see if she can see Mr. Ramsay, Cam, and James setting sail and imagines that one of the distant boats whose sail is just being... (full context)
The Lighthouse, 4
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Sailing off, James and Cam are silently united in stony resistance to their father’s tyranny. They had hoped... (full context)
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...trapped, wanting to respond and please her father but fearful of breaking her compact with James. James inwardly fears she’ll cave into Mr. Ramsay and recalls a blurry memory of his... (full context)
The Lighthouse, 8
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...suddenly loses the wind, sags, and the boat stills. Mr. Ramsay doesn’t stop reading but James dreads the moment his father will look up and criticize James’ handling of the sail.... (full context)
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James thinks back to his memories of childhood, and recollects his childhood vision of the Lighthouse... (full context)
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James remembers Mr. Ramsay dashing his hopes about going to the Lighthouse as a child and... (full context)
The Lighthouse, 9
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...the bay. She thinks of distance’s power, how it has devoured Mr. Ramsay, Cam, and James so that she feels they have “become part of the nature of things” and are... (full context)
The Lighthouse, 10
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On the sailboat, Cam feels that Mr. Ramsay’s frustration at her bad sense of direction, James’s insistence on their pact of silence, and her own suffering have all “streamed away.” Cam... (full context)
The Lighthouse, 12
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On the sailboat, James watches Mr. Ramsay looking very old reading and thinks he is the image of “that... (full context)
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...the spot on the water where the ship had sunk and three men had drowned. James and Cam dread Mr. Ramsay exclaiming the line, “But I beneath a rougher sea,” but,... (full context)
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As the sailboat pulls up to the Lighthouse, James and Cam watch Mr. Ramsay all ready to leap off the boat and wonder what... (full context)