Lily Barts’ Battle to Freedom: How a poor but sophisticated girl struggles to make money without submitting herself to men’s dominion, keeps suffering under social determination, does not fit in working class, excluded from any social place, and finally gives up in solitary tragic death.
Lily Bart is trying to catch a husband at her 29 years of age; the richer the better. Lawrence Selden proposed to her, but she rejects him for not being rich. Her pick is Percy Gryce—very rich but boring—but instead of sealing the case immediately, she let herself wavering from him. Gryce married another girl after Bertha Dorset spreads bad things about Lily. Then Gus Trenor introduced the innocent Lily to the stock market; invested money in the girl; insisting to get sex for exchange, which she disgustingly rejects. Her conservative aunt hears about her bad conduct, and she only left her small money, only enough to pay her debt to Trenor.
Simon Rosdale and George Dorset also want to marry Lily and promise financial safety, but she rejects them all. Instead, she departs to Mediterranean with the Dorsets, only to be humiliated by Bertha Dorset, and banished from her social circle and most her former friends. She tries to climb the social ladder by attaching herself to new riches, only to be associated by another scandal. Finally Lily enters the worker life, but fails too. Selden tries to help her in marriage proposal, but she relinquishes her past, and ‘accidentally’ takes overdose sleeping pills.