By Edith Wharton
Thought of through many to be her masterpiece, Edith Wharton's moment full-length paintings is a scathing but own exam of the exploits and follies of the fashionable top classification. As she unfolds the tale of Undine Spragg, from long island to Europe, Wharton presents us a close glimpse of what will be referred to as the inner décor of this the USA and its nouveau riche fringes. via a heroine who's as useless, spoiled, and egocentric as she is irresistibly interesting, and during a most complicated and pleasurable plot that follows Undine's marriages and affairs, she conveys a imaginative and prescient of social habit that's either supremely expert and supremely disappointed.
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7). Though aware that her behavior has always aroused speculation, she舗s tempted by the risk of entering his apartment, and he舗s delighted by the spontaneity of her consent. When she contrasts her luxurious way of life to the dingy existence of Selden舗s cousin Gerty Farish, Lily seems to him like a victim manacled to her fate. Lily, whose vocation is marriage, is very fond of Selden but doesn舗t want to marry him because he hasn舗t got enough money舒though he舗s sufficiently wealthy to sail suddenly down to Havana or across to Europe for important legal cases.
231). No one defends Lily after her cruel dismissal, though both Dorset and Carry Fisher later apologize for their cowardly behavior. Bertha has no moral scruples; Lily has far too many. Bertha is a Fury and avenger, yet Lily has committed no crime. Wharton makes her heroine the ironic embodiment of Aeschylus舗 great theme: suffering teaches wisdom. Lily returns to New York to find that Grace Stepney has told her aunt that Lily lost money gambling and that Gus Trenor has paid her bills, poisoning the severe and disapproving Julia Peniston against her.
Both taught her to worship wealth and trained her solely for marriage舒though she has no real desire to get married. Like Wharton herself, Lily has never had a mother舗s love. When the novel opens, Lily, an orphan with no mother to protect her, must look after herself. On Bertha舗s yacht in Monte Carlo, Lord Hubert tells Selden that Lily has an aunt in New York, but that New York is a long way off. By then, though Lily doesn舗t yet know it, her Aunt Julia Peniston has died, disinherited her, and left her with no place to live.