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The House of Mirth Naturalism

Autor:   •  March 29, 2018  •  1,014 Words (5 Pages)  •  163 Views

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The House of Mirth can also be seen as a realistic novel because it has some examples of realism since the novel emphasis on morality. This is seen when Lily Bart gets the secret letters and questions herself whether to expose Mrs. Dorset or not and in the end she decides to not and dumps the letters in the fire because it will hurt Selden as well since he is involved in it. Thus, she refuses to avenge herself and decides to be better than Mrs. Dorset. A melodramatic novel is another way to look at the House of Mirth. An example of it would be the ending where Selden rushes to Lily, who overdosed, kneels by the bed and leans over her. This exaggerated emotion is considered to be melodramatic. Also, at the end, there is a happy ending where Selden is happy because he loved Lily the way he did and he sees this love between them, saved them for ruin.

Having an idea about these terms can help the reader in understanding the potential value of this novel because if the reader knows, for example, what novel of manners is, this will help him in understanding the value behind this novel and the characters’ behaviour in the novel. Thus, the reader will know the reason(s) behind such behaviours, which will lead to him appreciating the novel and its potential value.

All in all, Edith Wharton in the House of Mirth has used elements from each term, however, the special emphasis that the author placed on women, marriage, and money played a major role in its classification as a novel of manners and in my opinion having knowledge in regard to these terms will surely help the readers in understanding and appreciating the novel.


Abrams, M. (1999). A glossary of literary terms. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publishers.

Dr Deller. Class Notes. 20/03/16 – 10/05/16

Literary Terms and Definitions. (2016). [online] Available at:

Romanticism, Realism and Naturalism. (2016).

Wharton, E. (2002). The House of Mirth. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover.


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