House of Mirth Notes


I made some notes includning a lot of quotes on 'The House of Mirth' for English exam and thought it might be helpful to share them with you guys.

There are multiple spelling mistakes and some of the ideas may not make sense to some people as a lot of it was just random thoughts and ideas.

Hope it's helpful though.


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  • Created on: 03-06-16 17:07
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House of Mirth: Key Quotes

Selden: `From everything ­ from money, Selden is idealistic not realistic ­ IRONY
from poverty, from ease and anxiety, Selden does not crave money yet wants it
from all material accidents. To keep a kind so that he can help her.
of republic of the…

Page 2

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`She didn't not weep easily, and the long This a brief moment where Lily reveals
habit of selfcontrol reasserted itself, her true emotions to Selden. It is one of
though she was too tremulous to speak'. the few times that Lily is lost for words ­
(pg 3226) shows that…

Page 3

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romantic scene struck her as too good to Selden spots this personality trait: `You
be wasted'. are an artist and I happen to be the bit of
colour you are using today'.
`To his wife he no longer counted: he had Women seem to have control IRONIC that
become extinct…

Page 4

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not seize the opportunity she has
been presented with
Lily also has other reasons to seek Again here Lily does not seize the
revenge on Bertha: `he's telling everybody opportunity that she is presented with.
that you and Dorset came back alone Cause of her downfall + the reason

Page 5

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`To attempt to bring her into active
relation with life was like tugging at a
piece of furniture which has been screwed
to the floor'.

Key Themes:

Darwinism + changing society:
1. Wharton has a keen interest in the `origin of species'. Those who
cannot keep up with the changing…

Page 6

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1. Lily is in constant need of being rescued ­ Rosedale, Selden and
George Dorset and to an extent Gus Trenor offer her some form
of hope or rescue. Yet Lily is always waiting for a better offer.
2. Lily is also often alienated from society but not out of…

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In America's Gilded Age (between 1876 and 1901, approximately), the
rich got much richer, and the poor got much poorer. It was a time of
great industrial expansion in the United States and a time when the
stock market was doing very well. Great cities such as New York…

Page 8

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Wharton's writing is particularly influenced by Darwinism, best
described as the survivalofthefittest concept. Applied to literature
concerning human society, this means an interest in creating portrayals
of society and human interaction governed by the principle that only
some members of society are cut out for success, while others are




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