Edith Wharton Writing Styles in The House of Mirth

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Lily is the most potent symbol of The House of Mirth. Like the flower, her name signifies her to be a beautiful, delicate breed. Indeed, Lily's uniqueness and exquisiteness is often noted by people around her. For instance, at the tableau party: "It was as though she had stepped, not out of, but into Reynolds's canvas, banishing the phantom of his dead beauty by the beams of her living grace." The guests at the party note as well the "noble buoyancy of her attitude, its suggestion of soaring grace, . . . [and] the touch of poetry in her beauty."

Lily has a finer sensibility than those around her. While Lily often acts in accordance with the social mores of her class, her actions demonstrate a more stringent moral calling than any of the other people who populate her world. She refuses to give Bertha's love letters to Selden to make...

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This section contains 893 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The House of Mirth Study Guide
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The House of Mirth from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.