Devices in House of mirth

Topics: Fiction, Edith Wharton, Meaning of life, Wealth, Climax, Narratology / Pages: 4 (1481 words) / Published: Jan 8th, 2015
Theme: When we let society’s expectations of our appearances and social standings influence our lives, we find ourselves becoming disconnected with our own desires, the people, and environment around us and as a result, don’t express our true feelings which ultimately leads to an empty life with unfulfilled desires that we may or may not ever realize.

Setting: The setting in this story, The House of Mirth, is more than just New York City. The setting is used to not only make the story more interesting, but to represent the ideas in which Edith Wharton is trying to explain. In chapter 6, Lily and Selden go out into the garden to have a nice talk. In contrast to the elitist New York City setting where the gossip runs high, the garden is simply an “open ledge of rock above which the beeches rose steeply between mossy boulders.” In this simple garden, Lily feels “a sense of buoyancy which seemed to lift and swing her above the sun-suffused world at her feet,” especially when she asks Selden to marry her. There is nothing to influence her, and nothing to tell her what is right and what is wrong. Even though the negotiations never came through, Lily and Selden “stood silent for a while, smiling at each other like adventurous children who have climbed to a forbidden height from which they discover a new world.” Expressing feelings and true emotion is how we discover who we are and what we want, and without doing so, can lead to an ultimately confusing life in which we never find a solution. Another example of how the setting in this novel plays an important role in helping us deeper understand the novel is when Lily goes to the Girls Club, where it had “first brought her in contact with the dramatic contrasts of life.” Up until that point, Lily had “lived with the abstract conception of poverty” and never thought of the “victims of this fate otherwise than in the mass.” “This discovery gave Lily one of those sudden shocks of pity that sometimes decentralize a

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