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Overview of Author's Career

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Mariah Alexander

on 17 October 2013

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Transcript of Overview of Author's Career

Literature Circle
House of Mirth & Adam's Rib

House of Mirth Summary
Lily Bart is trying to turn her life around.
She is in debt due to her gambling addiction.
She is traveling to Bellomont to find a wealthy man to marry.
Men are the primary source of income while women are supposed to look pretty and accompany them in public.
A man named Lawrence Selden has feelings for Lily,
Lily can't marry him because he is not rich.
During her time at Bellomont, she has received a lot of adoration from many gentlemen as well as ridicule from the other women.
The men's wives' jealousy incorporates the gender stereotype that women are more envious than men.
Lily has been unsure about who she wants to marry.
Once she decides to marry Rosedale, he refuses her hand in marriage.
She then breaks down.
She leaves her job as secretary which degrades her social status.
Lily is depressed once her social status is lowered.
During that time period, it was very important for women to look presentable in public.
They cared about whether people liked them or not.
Lily realizes that she is not happy.
She then pays off all her debts.
She overdoses on medicine and kills herself.
Selden realizes how much he loved her but it was too late.
Happiness is more important than money.
Literary Criticisms
Edith Wharton's Career as an Author
Her father's death and long European trips deferred her writing career
Even though she endured a lot of negativity because she was a female, growing up in a wealthy family made it easier to advance her writing career
By the age of 18 Edith had published poems that were shown in magazines
Her first commercial success was called The Decoration of Houses(1897)
In 1899, her therapist suggested that she write fiction, so she wrote a collection of stories called The Greater Inclination
In 1905 Wharton created her first masterpiece, The House of Mirth
She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1921 with her novel The Age of Innocence
A dramatization of her novel The Old Maid won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1935.
Discuss the Cultural & Historical Context
Adam's Rib Summary
Doris Attinger is suspicious of her husband
She follows him from work one day only to find him with another woman
enraged, she shoots him with a gun in the shoulder
The next day, Adam Bonner(assistant district attorney) is assigned the prosecuting case
After telling his wife Amanda, she decides that she is going to take Doris' case as her defense attorney
During the trial things start to heat up
One night after work Amanda brings home a gift for Adam but he won't even look at Amanda
They have a big argument and Adam leaves
Doris is found not guilty and released from jail but Amanda is unhappy because she has lost her husband
After the case is over, Amanda confides in Kip the neighbor across the way
Adam shows up and pulls a gun on the two of them
Amanda, in fear, tells Adam he has no right to shoot anyone which proves that his case was correct
Adam contempt with Amanda's statement eats the gun(it was made of licorice)
That causes another huge fight but this time Amanda leaves
The next day the two meet up to do the their taxes but end up leaving early to go to their country house
In the end, Adam and Amanda resolve their fight and the movie ends
Stephen G. Brown's literary criticism:
The House of Mirth refers to people who are wealthy but "spiritually bankrupt (Brown)."
Lily Bart is believed to be entrapped in a materialistic society.
Wharton attacks false values in the novel.
Lily inherits characteristics from her mother and father.
She inherits her intelligence and looks from her mother.
The rebel in her comes from her father.
Tricia M. Farwell's literary criticism:
She claims that true love is only found "through the death of a partner (Farwell)."
An "ideal spiritual union" is created at the end of the novel (Farwell)."
The only nonmaterialistic topic in this novel that Lily seems to hold is love.
In America's Gilded Age (between 1876 and 1901, approximately),
Wharton knew the upper-crust New York society well because her family was in it
The House of Mirth was written at a time when the realist movement in literature was thriving
Wharton's writing is particularly influenced by Darwinism, best described as the survival-of-the-fittest concept

Exploit the societal roles of men and women in a feminist view
1949 was a year where feminism was made popular because of the movie Adam's rib
Battle of the sexes
Women still not allowed to do many things a man was allowed to do.

Compare and Contrast Gender Roles
Adams Rib
Women can have a high profession job
women and men are and should be equal
Women are taking part in society
Women are able to provide for themselves
women can do anything a man can do
Women can be as smart as men and if not smarter

The House of Mirth
Women are expected to hold a high social currency
Men bring home the bacon
Men provide for women'
Women and men should be married at an ealry age to a same social class
Women need to have high standards
Married women guard their husbands carefully, both their affections and their money.
Women expected to be perfect
Men and women should be married
Women are more of an object
Both have women characters going against rules of society

Gender roles play a big part in the movie and in the novel.
Women seem to rely on men more in the novel.
Women seem to fight for themselves and try to reach an equal platform in the movie.
Full transcript