The House of Mirth Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. In book 1, chapter 1, what is the reason for Lily's reaction to Lawrence Selden's suggestion that they have tea at the popular cafe as Lily waits for her train?

Lily is concerned about appearances and who she is seen with. Lawrence Selden is poor, and she is afraid if she is seen with him it might hurt her social standing.

2. Compare Lawrence Selden's feelings about women with Lily's feelings about women.

They both look down on women and their roles in society.

3. Why does Lily envy Lawrence Selden's lifestyle?

He is independent and can live by himself. She is also envious because she believes women need to be concerned about their appearances to fit into high society. She knows that although Lawrence Selden is poor, because he is a man, he can still associate with high society.

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