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The House of Mirth

The House of Mirth


by Edith Wharton

The House of Mirth Appearances Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

Selden paused in surprise. In the afternoon rush of the Grand Central Station his eyes had been refreshed by the sight of Miss Lily Bart. (1.1.1)

Notice that the first time we see Lily, it is as an object through the eyes of a man. She exists only as men see her, not as her own individual entity.

Quote #2

But your real collector values a thing for its rarity. (1.1.91)

We know this is why Rosedale values Lily – but is it always the reason for Selden's attraction to her?

Quote #3

Only one thought consoled her, and that was the contemplation of Lily's beauty. She studied it with a kind of passion, as though it were some weapon she had slowly fashioned for her vengeance. It was the last asset in their fortunes, the nucleus around which their life was to be rebuilt. She watched it jealously, as though it were her own property and Lily its mere custodian; and she tried to instill into the latter a sense of the responsibility that such a charge involved. (1.3.57)

Does Lily understand the weight of responsibility that comes with her good looks? Does she act accordingly? Should she have to?

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