Monday, December 9, 2019

The House of Mirth Readalong Week #5: Book 2 Ch. 6 – 9

Chapter 6 & 7

I'm glad that Lily wasn't tempted to take revenge to Bertha through George Dorset, even when she just needed to say "yes" to him to activate it. And the persistent way she rejected Rosedale is rather admirable, though I still think that Rosedale isn't as evil and selfless as the other men in Lily's set. He's clearly in love with Lily (his jealousy over Selden is one proof), though he's also ambitious. But isn't Lily too? Here, again, I saw the "shadow" of how her mother's education (to follow the money) and her father's character (to seek subtlety) have influenced Lily - from which she was always torn between two impulses, without being able to compromise them. And that explain Lily's indecisiveness and contradiction from the beginning. Poor Lily... I was tired just of reading about it, let alone she who must live it through!

Chapter 8 & 9

=Will Lily ever get married?

We have come to the stage, where Lily's only possible marriage was either with Rosedale or Selden. Rosedale had the money but not the subtlety. His scheme regarding Bertha Dorset's letters disgusted Lily. Okay, then how about Selden? He had the subtlety, but not the money. In her present situation, that's the best thing to accept. But no; if she was disgusted with Rosedale, she felt ashamed to Selden - one thing I don't quite understand. Was she trying to prove to Selden that she's different from the society he detested? Why did she always imply to Selden that she did not need his help, every single time she really needed it - and Selden's ready to give it? Was she too proud? I began to think, her pride has made her situation going from bad to worse.

Lily should have known that with Selden she would be a free woman, an equal in the marriage. Wasn't it that that she thought after? Well, without the large drawing room or the jewelry, perhaps, but, hey... one can't always get everything in life, right? Or maybe, that's Lily's real problem - that she has brought up by her mother as a spoiled brat, who always gets the best of everything?

If so, then she is a child-woman who never grew up. She had a vague sense of better qualities she inherited from her father - that she deserved to achieve more in life. But she had no father to guide it. And she certainly needed her mother to guide her through the slippery stairs of society. But on top of everything, it's a rotten society, where a girl does not have chance to improve by herself and be independent.

I have actually read through chapter 10, but I think I'd better stop here, because after this we'd come to the hardest part of the story, and I need to brave myself!


  1. Oh, I think Lily really liked the material comforts and she realized that she would have those with Selden, or not to the extend she'd have with someone richer.

    I do admire that Lily does seem to have better qualities that, in spite of not being nurtured, are still there. Someone else might have none at all given similar circumstances to Lily.

    I need to brave myself too!

  2. I do think it is a bit the case she never grows up, but then society doesn't much encourage her to do so, does it? She's been raised to desire nice things and expect them, but she has no chance of making real money herself, so she can only marry to get them.

    But at this point I don't think she can marry Selden anymore because Selden has jumped to the conclusion she's sleeping with Trenor. (Shame on him! for being so judgmental. And wrong!)

    I also think she was right to say no to George (or not encourage him) even though George and Bertha's marriage isn't worth much. But I also think that marrying Rosedale at this point would be bad. If she could have said yes to him earlier! But now that he's insistent on using the letters to silence Bertha, it makes sense to me she couldn't live with herself if she did that. And it doesn't really say anything very nice about Rosedale that he would demand it.


What do you think?