The Rise Of Silas Lapham Essay

1168 words - 5 pages

In the Story “The Rise of Silas Lapham,” written by William Dean Howells, Silas’s desire to conform to the standards of society is the root of his company’s downfall but the rise of his understanding and morals. The society Silas is trying to feel accepted by is very judgmental and vain and do not care about others therefore making it very tough for the Laphams to be accepted or even feel somewhat normal where they are living. Persis is a significant character in the novel because in the end she is why Silas does the things he does because she bestowed good morals in him. The last attempts to fit in with the community is the building and destruction of the house. These are all very significant events to the story leading up to Silas last decisions.
The society that Silas is trying to be accepted into cannot not find a way to accept Silas, nor find a way to make him acceptable. Although Silas is extremely wealthy, this does not make him acceptable in the community. Being rich situates him in the upper class allowing him to make an attempt at being one of them but in the end he fails because he cannot change his personality without losing sight of who he really was. At the Corey’s dinner party he has problems with wearing gloves while no one else is wearing them, and drinking from the wine glass like it was ice water served at his home table, also the conversation he could not enter into or follow. When he finally does he has drunk to much wine. After telling his War story he feels confident now that’s he has established himself in the conversation so he continues to talk about his paint to Bromfeild. As he goes on these rants unceasingly talking about pointless subjects he is the only one talking because no one at the party cares for the things he is talking about. The people ignoring him represent his rejection in society because he showed who his true self was through his uneducated talk. Also through his extraneous efforts they could see that he was trying to be someone that he wasn’t. In the end he’s not fooling anyone but himself. Society could’ve supported this newly wealthy family by helping them become better educated but instead they viewed the Laphams as reckless people of poor nature that will never be accepted as one of them.
Persis was one of the most important characters in the book. At the beginning of the story Silas didn’t have very many morals to none at all. She helped him obtain the morals he lives by. The reason these morals are so vital in the book is because when he loses site of everything and pursues his desire to fit in he comes back to these morals and realizes what he’s been doing and sacrificing just to be “one of them.” A good example of him realizing morals are when Rogers is trying to get buyers for the mills knowing the companies going go under and the mills aren’t going to be worth anything once it does. Rogers does not tell the English men of this situation so they are completely unsuspecting when going in to...

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