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Character Of Seldon In The House Of Mirth By Edith Wharton

718 words - 3 pages

Character of Seldon “He declared himself entirely at her disposal: the adventure struck him as diverting. As a spectator, he had always enjoyed Lily Bart; and his course lay so far out of her orbit that it amused him to be drawn for a moment into the sudden intimacy which her proposal implied.” Source: The House of Mirth, By Edith Wharton It should be noted that the role of Selden is highly important because it is a stock role in the novel of manners, and therefore helps in clearing and highlighting the unspoken conversation between people. In the novel the construction of his character is such that he is the observer, the person who cannot marry. It is in this position of the observer, that an unbiased view is shown, and it is through his eyes that we are asked to interpret the society. This role of an observer is very much highlighted by the author, as Seldon’s home forms a private enclave that will not be interrupted and into which very few people are allowed. The novel shows, that Selden is a good friend of Lily, and therefore from time to time, stands to influence her. His character is particularly important. He thinks of marrying her at one point, and constantly causes her to consider rejecting her chosen lifestyle for something less boring, preferably that which is offered by him. After seeing her emerge from the Trenor's house, Selden thinks she was having an affair and rejects marrying her, without sufficient proof of his accusations. He meets her several times and arrives at the end to view her lying dead in her room; the death however is not clarified and can be seen as either an accident or a suicide. The excerpt below shows the nature of Seldon, which can be used in analyzing his character: “It came vividly to Selden on the Casino steps that Monte Carlo had, more than any other place he knew, the gift of accommodating itself to each man's humor. His own, at the moment, lent it a festive readiness of welcome that might well, in a disenchanted eye, have turned to paint...

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