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The Theme Of Tragedy In The House Of Mirth

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Claudia Feher
American Studies 1st year
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

The House of Mirth is a novel that condemns the elitist world of women and promotes the idea that money can't buy happiness. Wharton wanted to present American aristocracy when that aristocracy was doing so well. The novel highlights each aspect of a person's social behavior because each detail can have implications. Wharton wanted to mock the society, but also to show the tragedies in it. Wharton considered New York society to be arrogant, trivial, and ridiculous. The burden of tragedy to her often a humorous bitter satire of the ways of the wealthy is related with Wharton's personal connection to this world. She is presenting a good combination of criticism
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When she has money and is able to pay her debts, she feels a sense freedom but when the money is gone and her debts overwhelm her, she feels trapped as a slave. Her attitude relies on how much she can afford to spend on her wishes and how much she is in debt. A great tragedy in the novel is that Lily is never really free, even when she thinks she is. In her goal of getting wealthy, she considers marrying Percy Gryce, a wealthy, eccentric young bachelor but fails when Selden comes into the picture and make her change her mind. As a young woman, especially not very wealthy, Lily can never live the life of Selden, so she has to find a match that will provide a good life for her. Another good match for her was Rosedale who became rich by investing in stocks and properties. He asks Lily to marry him at some point, but she refuses thinking that she can do better than him, but later on when her situation for worst he refuses her. But in the end, they become friends and visits her after she becomes very poor and very…show more content…
Because of the ambiguous end, the question is whether or not Lily commits suicide. She wants to sleep for a long time because she is extremely tired and she wants to escape her current situation with no visible solution but still, makes plans for the future by asking Rosedale to visit her and she also tells Selden that they will meet again but after taking a long vacation by herself. Lily's death seems so avoidable giving the fact that so many people were willing to help her in every way possible. No one should have her tragic destiny if that person has a group of close
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