The Journey of Self-Discovery and Wholeness in To the Light House: From the ‘Body for Others’ to the ‘Visionary Body’


  • Muzaffer Derya Nazlıpınar Subaşı Ph.D Dumlupınar University, School of Foreign Languages, Kütahya, Turkey



phallocentric order, patriarchy, gendered body/body for others, fluid body/visionary body, semiotic chora, de(con)struction


Having been defined as an ‘incomplete man’ or an ‘incidental being’ that lacks certain qualities, women have gradually internalized the patriarchal ideology, claiming that they are essentially insufficient. Considering themselves as the insignificant ‘Other’ in relation to men, women are full of self-loathing and shame over their bodies. Thus, always seeking men’s approval, women drown out the inner voice of their bodies and resort to being ‘the body for others’. However, for Woolf, it is a self- destruction not a salvation. She claims women have to get rid of those docile bodies and disembodied minds to be able to take control of their own lives cleared from all the social constraints, society constructed gender roles and patriarchal demands. For Woolf, this is only possible when women assert themselves through their bodies, thereby realizing a new sense of being inside themselves that is powerful and autonomous ready to actualize its potential. Therefore, basing its argument on those assertions of Virginia Woolf and one of her most influential novels, To the Lighthouse, this study puts forward women’s body image largely influenced by phallocentric world and its typical patriarchal system can be challenged and subverted through the ‘visionary body’ that enables women to achieve the unique process of self-discovery and wholeness.