The House of Mirth
The House of Mirth Appearances Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
It was not the first time that Selden had heard Lily's beauty lightly remarked on, and hitherto the tone of the comments had imperceptibly coloured his view of her. But now it woke only a motion of indignant contempt. This was the world she lived in, these were the standards by which she was fated to be measured! Does one go to Caliban for a judgment on Miranda? (1.12.19)
Selden is the only character in House of Mirth – even including Lily – to get angry when she's treated like an object. Yet much of his love for Lily has to do with her beauty and her rarity…Does he have any right to judge other men for viewing her this way?
"I am not frightened: that's not the word. Can you imagine looking into your glass some morning and seeing a disfigurement – some hideous change that has come to you while you slept? Well, I seem to myself like that – I can't bear to see myself in my own thoughts – I hate ugliness, you know – I've always turned from it – but I can't explain to you – you wouldn't understand." (1.14.53)
Just as Lily earlier realized that there are different types of dinginess in the world, she now recognizes that there are different kinds of ugliness, as well.
Selden thought he could trust himself to return gradually to a reasonable view of Miss Bart, if only he did not see her. (2.1.38)
This approach to getting over Lily supports the argument that Selden's feelings for her have a lot to do with her looks, not her character.