Pride and Pointlessness Comparison Essay by Sal

Pride and Pointlessness
This paper is a lengthy comparison between the character Lily Bart and her creator, author of "House of Mirth", Edith Wharton.
# 5423 | 5,530 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2001 | US
Published on Feb 11, 2003 in Literature (American) , English (Comparison) , Sociology (General) , Women Studies (General)

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This paper looks at the life of novelist Edith Wharton. The author discusses her upper class status in New York, her lavish and privileged upbringing, and her decision to write about the old monied society life in the American Victorian Era, and her staunch feminist beliefs. The paper argues that Ms. Wharton's main protagonist in "House of Mirth", Lily Bart, is in fact, a mirror image of the author, and Lily's experiences, very much her own.

From the Paper:

"Wharton and the character Lily were also very indicative of New York society, and very much products of their time. Regardless of their success or failure as feminist models or members of that society, both women may be seen as decent metaphors for the development of New York's uppercrust high society during the Gilded Age. First off, the struggle that both women were involved in regarding the encroachment of the "new money" on the domains of the "old blood" was very typical of society at large during this time period. There remained a narrow group of millionaires that had dominated New York since the days of the Dutch, and it was from this pool that Lily and Edith both sprung. This group had married almost exclusively within itself for decades, and the idea of widening its boundaries to include other families had to be difficult. However, the entire basis of this groups status was based on their wealth, and when their wealth was dwarfed by that of the new industrial giants, it threw a monkeywrench, so to speak, into the machinery of their lives. The question for both Lily and Edith, as for all of New York's very rich, was basic in nature: is marriage about breeding or money?"

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

Pride and Pointlessness (2003, February 11) Retrieved September 18, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Pride and Pointlessness" 11 February 2003. Web. 18 September. 2019. <>