The House Of Mirth

Topics: Woman, Gender, Marriage, Comedy / Pages: 4 (810 words) / Published: Jan 7th, 2016
The House of Mirth is important when answering the question I have chosen, as the character representation of Lily Bart, advocates for the treatment that women of that time era had to endure. As Wharton grew up in an upper-class family she felt she was able to highlight the wrongs that women faced, e.g. having their parents pick who they married. The House of Mirth, is based on one female protagonist Lily Bart, a women that enjoys the finer lifestyle of the late 1890’s, but her lack of real money and gambling addiction contribute to a spiral downfall that takes place in her short life. When writing the novel, it is apparent that Wharton wanted to leave a lasting impact on her audience, concluding the story with Lily’s graphic overdose, although …show more content…
She also refuses another marriage proposal, from the character of Simon Rosedale. Her main reasons for denying the money making proposals is she believes she herself should be able to pick her own suitor, and is much in love with another male character named Lawerence Selden. These acts of resistance do convey Wharton’s personality into the novel, showing a streak of independence from the main female protagonist, but just like other novels of that time, Lily’s narrative does indeed endure the virtues of conformity.
Wharton’s writing style allows her to convey the problems with the marriage boom but also shows the harshness of what effects it can have on both male and female. “Wharton is unique in being able to endow this drama of social closure, of exclusion and inclusion, with some of the Melvillean power of tragedy. The House of Mirth begins as a social comedy about the marriage market; it’s wicked irony irresistibility reminds us of Pride and Prejudice. But by the time of Lily Bart’s death, we’re more likely to think of ritual sacrifice than of Shakespearean comedy.” (Dickstein, 2005:
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Evidently, society is not a friend of young beautiful women with any sort of ambition. Lily is warned from the offset that a place in society is the most important value in a woman’s life. The character of Judy Trenor tries to warn Lily about Bertha, foreshadowing Berthas negative effect on Lily’s life. “What is truth? Where a woman is concerned, it’s the story that’s easiest to believe. In this case it’s a great deal easier to believe Bertha Dorset’s story than mine, because she has a big house and an opera box, and it’s convenient to be on good terms with her” (1905: 218) Here in this short quote Wharton demonstrates her own opinion on society and its materialistic ways. To have a high standing within society, the male figure must go out and earn money on the infamous Wall street whilst women are there for socialising and keeping charge of their family, and doing household chores, although housekeepers and nanny’s was used

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