The threat of scandal is an ever-present thundercloud in House of Mirth. Set among the upper-echelon of New York society in the late 1800s, the novel focuses on social goals, games, and disasters. Reputation is a particularly precarious balancing act for 29-year-old, still unmarried Lily Bart, who must carefully guard her public image in the hopes of winning a rich husband. Problems of money and boredom crop up, however, and Lily's interactions with married men and eligible bachelors to quell these concerns leave her on dangerous ground.
Scandal is more threatening than financial ruin in House of Mirth.