Settings And Its Importance Essay

1545 words - 7 pages

Time seems to be the only constant force in the ever-changing society of human. In today’s society, people have made huge progress in both technology and equality for all, no matter the gender and race. However, at the end of the 19th century in The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, the Victorian society is ruled by strict expectations and standards. On the other hand, taking place in the beginning of the 20th century, This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald portrays a society that is fed up with the standards and rules of the Victorian society. Despite of the time differences, both novels share many similarities and differences that shape the development of the characters in the novel.
Wharton and Fitzgerald both use the time period to explore the close relationship between marriage and money. While The House of Mirth was published in 1905, Wharton sets the story at the end of the 19th century, during America’s Gilded Age. In this time period, American’s industrialized economy expanded, and the gap between rich and poor grew. In The House of Mirth, Wharton portrays both side of the spectrum through Lily Bart. At the beginning of the novel, Lily Bart is a part of the upper-crust New York society; however, at the end of the novel, Wharton symbolizes Lily’s complete fall from grace through the boarding house in which Lily lives in, the very definition of dinginess that Lily hate: “She knew that she hated dinginess as much as her mother had hated it and to her last breath she meant to fight against it” (Wharton 42). While Lily do tries to fight against the dinginess, her decisions repeatedly ruined her chance for marriage. The setting is especially important in Lily’s struggle due to the time period; it is not common for a woman work for her livelihood, especially in the upper class society. Wharton shows the close relationship between money and marriage through the conversation Lily has with Selden: “‘We are expected to be pretty and well-dressed till we drop--- and if we can’t keep it up alone, we have to go into partnership’ [Lily said]” (Wharton 15). Lily Bart’s family is not wealthy; therefore, she must marry wealth in order to support her spending and gambling habits. While Lily loves Selden, she can’t marry him because he doesn’t have enough wealth.
Similarly to Selden, Amory Blaine loses the chance to marry Rosalind, the love of his life, due to money. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald was published in 1920. However, the story takes place during the transition from the Victorian period to the Roaring 20s. In this way, the societies in The House of Mirth and This Side of Paradise are different from each other; however, most of the accepted behaviors and expectations of the time remained the same from the Victorian era: “The education of all beautiful women is the knowledge of men” (Fitzgerald 142). Even during a period of change, Fitzgerald implies that all a woman needs to know is how to please a man. Before Rosalind’s...

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