House Of Mirth: A Literary Analysis

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Many things converged during the American Gilded Age to make it what it was. Fundamentals about the American dream were created during this era. Ideas about wealth, status, class, and even luck played a huge role in how humans interacted with each other during this time. In the novel, The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton gives the reader a very unique viewpoint for this era. The author focuses on two very prominent issues for women during this era, money and marriage. The authors use of these two themes throughout her text gives the reader accurate view of a women’s life in this time period. Wharton’s novel follows the life of Lily Bart and the misfortune that over takes her life in the early twentieth century. Lily is 29 and unmarried at the start of text, which the reader soon discovers is a huge issue for her. Lily is, in comparison to her socialite “friends”, broke. Lily revels in daydream how her…show more content…
Lily was all but obsessed with having, losing, obtaining money. Lily’s mindset is the epitome of the Gilded Age; money was the purpose of ones life. Having money and the ability acquire large sums of it made you superior than those that could not. “To be poor seemed to her such a confession of failure that it amounted to disgrace” (Wharton 26). This idea reverberated across America in this era. Carnegie, J.P. Morgan and their counterparts believed this idea as well. Lily constantly wondered if, “it were possible that she belonged to the same race?” it is easy to surmise that this fictional character’s private ideas were real to women of this era (Wharton 2). This type of person is different from Carrie, in the film Sister Carrie, who came from poverty and had sympathy for the destitute. Lily, the wealthy women in the novel, as well as the women in this era in real life would have felt like not having money that person’s fault. Having money meant everything in this

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