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The House of Mirth Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 110 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The House of Mirth.
This section contains 805 words
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Themes

Women's Roles

As seen in The House of Mirth, women in early twentieth-century society had little chance to play any role other than wife and mother. The female leaders of society, Judy Trenor and Bertha Dorset, derive their power and social standing from their marriages. The women who work as companions, such as Carry Fisher, have been married in the past. Lily's only goal in life, the only "profession" for which she has been trained, has been to make a good marriage. When she fails to reach this achievement, she has no skills or even inner resources upon which to draw. Though she attempts to work, first as a professional companion and then as a milliner's assistant, her attempts are woefully inadequate, and Lily sinks deeper and deeper into poverty.

Only a few women in the novel choose alternate paths. Nettie Struther, a working-class woman, works out of her...

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This section contains 805 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The House of Mirth Study Guide
Copyrights
The House of Mirth from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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