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Mirth And Fury Essay

1543 words - 7 pages

Paradise is where everyone wants to be. However, paradise is a fleeting concept of happiness that must be fought for in order to be maintained, but not all effort are successful. In The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, Lily Bart fights continuously to maintain her lifestyles and wealth throughout the novel; however, at the end of the novel, Lily ends up losing her reputation and all of her wealth. Similarly, in The Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner, the Compson family also experiences a period of decline both in wealth and reputation. Through the characters in the novels, Wharton and Faulkner portray the struggles that is involved with gaining and maintaining paradise as well as the ...view middle of the document...

Therefore, Lily refuses to marry him. While trying to protect her social standing, Lily loses Rosedale as a way to maintain her paradise.
However, while trying to gain wealth, Lily’s association with Gus Trenor led to her loss of reputation and social standing. Lily asks Gus Trenor to invest some money into the stock market on her behalf and giving her the profit in the process. While Lily believes the exchange between them is strictly business, Gus Trenor has other ideas. Since the stock market is not doing well during the time, he has been simply giving Lily money in exchange for her company and eventually sexual favors. While nothing sexual actually happens between them, rumors still spread, and Lily loses her reputation in Lawrence Selden’s heart. Wharton further develops Lily’s loss of paradise through her association with Bertha and George Dorset. Due to the vacation on the Sabrina, Bertha is able to accuse Lily of having an affair with George Dorset. Through this turn of events, Wharton completely destroys Lily’s reputation in high society. Although Lily tries to maintain her paradise by running away from her problems, she faces further decline in reputation on the Sabrina. Also, Grace Stepney is able to use these rumors to make Mrs. Peniston change her will; this decision only leaves Lily with ten thousand dollars after Mrs.Peniston’s death.
While Lily’s decline in reputation and wealth all contribute to her loss of paradise, at the end of the novel, Wharton also suggest that Lily’s unhappiness stem from her inability to see the importance of love. Throughout the novel, the readers could see that Lily and Selden have feeling for each other. Yet, Lily refuses to marry him due to her greed. Wharton creates Lily Bart as a character who only see the importance of money and social standing; therefore, it is not possible for Lily to abandon her belief and marries Selden. While trying to maintain her paradise through money and status, Lily Bart loses her chance at love with Selden and ultimately her life.
Similar to The House of Mirth that portrays Lily Bart’s struggle for paradise, in The Sound and The Fury, Faulkner also portrays the loss of paradise in the Compson family through the characters. Although the four Compson children are the focus of the novel, the family’s decline could also be seen in Mr. and Mrs. Compson. It is briefly mention that Mr. Compson die of alcoholism. Without a stable breadwinner, the family experiences a decline in wealth. Through the hard time that the family faces, Faulkner portrays Mrs. Compson as a bad mother and a weak head of the family. Since Mr. Compson passes away early, Mrs. Compson is supposed to step up and take care of the family. However, she claims to have bad headaches which reduce her to lying in bed most of the time. Not only does she not take care of her children, but she also have a favorite among them, Jason. While mothers are expected to love their children unconditionally, Mrs. Compson...

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