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What are the themes in "The House of Mirth"?

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beccca12321 | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 10, 2008 at 9:22 AM via web

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What are the themes in "The House of Mirth"?

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ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted November 10, 2008 at 10:33 AM (Answer #1)

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One of the themes in Wharton's novel is appearances.  "Lily’s physical beauty leads men to desire her, but none of these men, including Percy Gryce and Gus Trenor, actually have any interest in knowing the “real” Lily Bart."  Another theme is the appropriate roles for women.  What should they be, how should they act, what is "women's role?"  Betrayal is also the them of Wharton's novel and this is the most prevelant theme throughout the whole novel.  "At almost every turn, Lily’s friends and acquaintances betray her."

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