Lily and Love

An examination of Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth.

An examination of Edith Wharton?s The House of Mirth. A review of the novel and a brief look at the themes. The author examines how the writer provides insights into her own life through the experiences of the main character.
If the final word in The House of Mirth is love, it is little wonder that Lily Bart couldn’t remember it when she was dying. She hadn’t ever had it and didn’t know what it was. It becomes apparent early on in the novel that Lily is unlikely ever to experience a loving relationship during her life. Abandoned by both parents, who had little love for one another and demonstrated little for her, Lily was bereft of role models from whom she could learn. As a result, she never developed the capacity to give or receive love. She spent her whole life knowing there was something missing from her experience and futilely searching for it. Lily’s emotional dysfunction parallels some aspects of Edith Wharton’s own life, thus providing the reader with an insight into the life and mind of the author.