The House of Mirth
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The House of Mirth Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- 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?
- What are the differences in mood between Book I and Book II? Why does Book One end when it does?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?