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The House of Mirth

The House of Mirth

by Edith Wharton

Marriage Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

"You see I came after all," he said; but before she had time to answer, Mrs. Dorset, breaking away from a lifeless colloquy with her host, had stepped between them with a little gesture of appropriation. (1.4.79)

Bertha Dorset is trying to take ownership of Selden in this territorial battle between her and Lily. Why does Lily fight back – on account of her pride, or because she has genuine feelings for Selden?

Quote #5

A special appositeness was given to these reflections by the discovery, in a neighbouring pew, of the serious profile and neatly-trimmed beard of Mr. Percy Gryce. There was something almost bridal in his own aspect: his large white gardenia had a symbolic air that struck Lily as a good omen. After all, seen in an assemblage of his kind he was not ridiculous-looking: a friendly critic might have called his heaviness weighty, and he was at his best in the attitude of vacant passivity which brings out the oddities of the restless. (1.8.8)

Lily is attracted to Percy Gryce's passivity because it's an opportunity to elevate her own level of power.

Quote #6

[Mr. Rosedale] was sensitive to shades of difference which Miss Bart would never have credited him with perceiving, because he had no corresponding variations of manner. (1.11.45)

In keeping with the war imagery in House of Mirth, we can conclude that Miss Bart's weakness is underestimating her opponents.

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