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The House of Mirth

The House of Mirth

by Edith Wharton

Freedom and Confinement Quotes Page 3

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #7

To be of use was what she honestly wanted; and not for her own sake but for the Dorsets'. She had not thought of her own situation at all: she was simply engrossed in trying to put a little order in theirs. (2.3.4)

Lily actually is being selfless here, whereas she was incapable of such philanthropy earlier in Book I (when she donated to Gerty's charity in order to stroke her own ego).

Quote #8

She knew it was not by explanations and counter-charges that she could ever hope to recover her lost standing; but even had she felt the least trust in their efficacy, she would still have been held back by the feeling which had kept her from defending herself to Gerty Farish – a feeling that was half pride and half humiliation. (2.4.37)

Is this a reasonable explanation for Lily's refusal to defend herself? Why not at least explain to someone like Gerty, who would be willing to listen?

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