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The House of Mirth

Independent Honors Project

Sydney Sylvain

on 4 January 2013

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Transcript of The House of Mirth

Book by Edith Wharton The House Of Mirth Protagonist 29yrs old
Main focus: to marry rich so she can remain in the upper class
Believes in romance Lily Bart Lawrence Selden Young Lawyer
Not really wealthy- middle working class
Love & Happiness can't be bought
Lily's friend
gives her honest advice Lily & Selden Prezi by Sydney Sylvain & Alyssa Landry Lily's Debts
BACKGROUND Lily's Mother Lily's Aunt * Happiness=wealth* Gambling Borrowed Last request to Lily: "escape dinginess if she could"(38)

Believed Lily's beauty is a power for good, and that she can convert it into success

"Died of deep disgust"(39) Hated dinginess died surrounded by it

"Don't let it(dinginess) creep up on you and drag you down"(39)
Non of Lily's wealthy relatives would take her
"I'll try her for a year"(39)

Takes her in cause no one else would and she believed it made her look heroic in a way, this pleased her

"was by no means the richest of the family group"(40)

She gave Lily an allowance, but it wasn't enough money for the amount the upper class required

Lily had planned to inherit most of the aunt’s money and property (Mr. Bart's widowed sister) Mother's influence leaves Lily hating dinginess and lack of wealth An activity the upper class do @ their crushes (parties)

Name of Card: Bridge

Lily participated &
loses a great deal of money

Frowned upon for a "jeune fille à marier" (French) Gus Trenor A rich man of the upper class, seeks attention from other women that his wife neglects him from.

Takes a liking on Lily when Lily asks him to invest HER money in the stock market

Instead invests HIS money and gives Lily the profits
Thought Lily possibly liked him, possible affair

Never happened, Rumors spread, Wife is Lily's ex-friend

Lily finds out its not HER money that hes been giving her

Swears to pay him back HIS money= $10,000 She got herself into these debts trying to fit into the social status, so now it is up to her to pay them back. But if she had a rich husband he could of easily supplied her with the money, or maybe she wouldn't even face these situations. Lily Loves Selden Selden loves Lily She can't bring herself to be with him because of his social status
She knows she would be happy with him
She tells him she knows that her quest to higher social status wont truly bring her happiness His rational thinking>His romantic side
He knows he wouldn't be able to support her financially
"No I have nothing to give you instead. If I had it should be yours, you know."(78) Money=Power The author Wharton grew up in the upper crust and her family was very wealthy, so she knew the class very well. So in writing this book she wanted to expose the classes cruel ways, and the tragic suffering that it contains.In her lifetime, Edith Wharton wrote and published about 85 short stories. She was not only an author, but a garden designer, interior designer, and one who participated in many charities. She is known as a “taste-maker” of her time. She published two books on designing alone. Her book The Age Of Innocence (1920) won her a Pulitzer Prize making her the first woman to be awarded this award. In January 1905 The House of Mirth has an 11 month run in Scribner's Magazine. It is published in book form in October, becoming an instant bestseller. By the end of the year, "140,000 copies had been printed" (Benstock 150). It stays on the bestseller list into 1906. Setting The book takes place in the aspiring New York in the 1870’s which was said to be the Gilded age. The term came from Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner who were writers of this era. It refers to when America was going through a rapid population and economic growth post civil war. The rich got richer and the poor got poorer. Servitude v.s Freedom Lily is a slave to her mother’s request to stay away from dinginess and to marry rich to stay wealth. The only time Lily is free is when she isn’t in debt or she has an abundant amount of money to rely on. She will never have the freedom that the men of this book have as she expresses to Selden. Women of this era have to find a husband that can supply to them with protection and security. Theme Thank You! Any questions? Public conversion Personal Thoughts She is also a slave to the social demands of the upper class. Expensive clothes, if she is going to play the part she has to look the part Gambling, if all of her rich friends are doing it then she has to do it too. DINGINESS way IN Upper Class way OUT Took Lily away from the upper class when she is in debt and sends her to the working class making her an outcast to the social life. Mrs. Peniston Dinginess HAPPINESS Wealth The book received a review by the New York Times on October 15, 1905 its original publication.

"Its varied elements are harmoniously blended, and the discriminating reader who has completed the whole story in a protracted sitting or two must rise from it with the conviction that there are no parts of it which do not properly and essentially belong to the whole. Its descriptive passages have verity and charm, it has the saving grace of humor, its multitude of personages, as we have said, all have the semblance of life."

There were months of followed letters to the Times, arguing over the book. Some readers were fans who admired the book, while others felt that the book had unfairly portrayed the city's social elite. (Letter to the editor of the New York Times Saturday Review of Books, March 3, 1906) "A book of remarkable power." The House of Mirth to me was
Confusing, Predictable, Surprising, and Enjoyable!
Message to me: Don't ever let something or someone get in the way of my pursuit to mirth. Sydney's Alyssa's Personal Thoughts I didn’t really like the book because I found it too hard to follow- there were too many characters and confusing twists. It was just hard to keep track. Once you figure out what the author was saying though I liked the story she told, just not the way she told it.

Relate: Kardashians, high society in that time similar to now. fav parts Characters Men in The House of Mirth Women of the House of Mirth Percy Gryce
Rich, young, and popular- he likes novellasLily wanted to marry him and as soon as she went to make her move, his engagement to Evie Van Osburgh was announced Ned SilvertonAn acquaintance of Lily. He accompanied her and the Dorsets on their Mediterranean cruise where he has an affair with Bertha Dorset. Simon Rosedale
At one point he wanted to marry Lily but she declined. He moved on with his life, quickly climbing the social status ladder while Lily is quickly falling. He and Lily remained friends even ater her social decline. Gus TrenorWithout Lily’s knowledge, he invests his money in the stock market instead of the money she gave him. He still gives her the profits which total $10,000. He did this in hope of an affair but instead, when Lily finds out she declines and tells him that she will find another way to repay him. Dillworth
Lily’s ex- Fiance, Mother didn't approve of Lily and her gambling. Bertha Dorset
She invited Lily and Ned Silverton on her and her husband’s Mediterranean cruise. While Bertha and Ned were having an affair, Lily was supposed to distract the husband. Bertha ends up spreading a rumor that Lily and George are having an affair, and uses her money and influence to keep Lily out of the social circle. Judy TrenorMarried to Gus Trenor. She is the overseer at events that happen at Bellomont. She gives Lily a place to stay for periods of time up to two weeks Grace Stepney
Lily’s cousin, they’ve always had a competitive relationship. When Lily asked her for money she quickly declined. Gwen Van Osburgh
She marries Lily’s cousin, Jack Stepney. Her and Jack are a rich and powerful couple and are part of high society. When Lily was kicked off of the cruise, he let her stay at their house for the night. Carry Fisher
Known to bring newcomers into the high class social circle. Even after Lily’s social decline Carry remains her friend and offers her money if she should need it.
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