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Questions

The House of Mirth Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
  1. Do you like Lily Bart? Do think that Wharton is pushing you to either like or dislike her? What specific scenes make you feel the way that you do?
  2. What are the differences in mood between Book I and Book II? Why does Book One end when it does?
  3. At the end of the day, would Lily and Selden make a good match? Could she ever really be satisfied with him, and vice versa?
  4. We talk a lot in this Shmoop guide about "Social Determinism" (see Lily's "Character Analysis" for a full explanation). Do you see this at work in the world today? How is it different from what's going on with Lily Bart?
  5. Do you find the ending to House of Mirth – Selden's scene with Lily's body, not Lily's death itself – to be uplifting, or depressing? What mood does Wharton seem to be creating here?
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