In their novels To the Lighthouse and Swing Time, Virginia Woolf and Zadie Smith communicate that art frames reality for those who choose to pay attention. Art provides a glimpse of permanence and stability for Lily Briscoe, a young woman who paints her reality while visiting Isle of Skye, and Zadie Smith’s unnamed narrator, a young woman who contemplates her mixed-race background through the lens of dance in London and Africa. These observations encourage Lily and the narrator to consider the perspectives of others amid their own visions. Gradually, Lily and the narrator find and foster their identities by sorting through problematic and truthful experiences they encounter. Their stories emphasize that identity formation requires continual revision.
Budzikowski, Taylor, "Authenticity in Glimpses: Framing Art and Identity in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse and Zadie Smith’s Swing Time" (2020). English Department: Student Scholarship. 8.