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Kelley
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PostSubject: Discussion Questions   Tue Jun 19, 2007 1:34 am

1. What is the symbolic value of money in the novel? What does it mean to different characters?

2. Does Lily change over the course of the novel? What motives her, and how do her motivations change?

3. What do you think it Lily's biggest flaw as a character? What is her "Achilles' heel"?

4. Is Lily's death inevitable and necessary, or could she have recovered and found a way to get back into society? In other words, is Lily fated to die?

5. Describe the differences between Lily's outlook on society and Selden's. What views do they hold in common? On what viewpoints do they differ?

6. Many of the married men in this novel lead boring and sad lives. Compare the attitudes and characterizations of Gus Trenor and George Dorset to those of Lawrence Selden and Simon Rosedale. What do they have in common with one another? What are their differences?

7. How does the novel work with behavioral details? Pick three tiny details that Wharton uses to give the reader a clue as to what a character is thinking. You may want to consider Lily's blushes and smiles in the novel, as well as the role of lighting cigarettes in the novel. Or you can look at the opening scene, in which Selden plays a mind game with Lily to determine by her actions what she is doing.

8. How does this novel compare with another novel of manners you have read (see "The Novel of Manners" section)? You may wish to consider the novels of Jane Austen, Henry James of George Eliot.

9. Lily goes through some sweeping mood swings in the novel, fluctuating rapidly between happiness and despair. Pick two or three scenes in which Lily goes from happy to distressed, and analyze how this happens.

10. How does Selden change over the course of the novel? Explore his struggle between his desire to stay detached from society and his love for Lily.
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Kelley
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PostSubject: Re: Discussion Questions   Tue Jun 26, 2007 7:57 am

1. What is the symbolic value of money in the novel? What does it mean to different characters?

Money symbolizes power and freedom, especially to those in the upper crust. We see Bertha often use the power that comes from her money to manipulate the characters around her. Mr. Trenor uses his money to try to exact favors out of the women, Mr. Rosedale to move up in society. Lily always associates it with the freedom to do as she chooses.

2. Does Lily change over the course of the novel? What motives her, and how do her motivations change?

I thought that Lily's character was relatively flat. She is motivated by money and clout, if not the appearance of those things. Even in her poorest and lonliest moments she continues to dream of a way to obtain these things.

3. What do you think it Lily's biggest flaw as a character? What is her "Achilles' heel"?

She was a coward. She never did what she wanted to do, or even what she thought was right (morally), but always what the 'riches' wanted her to do.

4. Is Lily's death inevitable and necessary, or could she have recovered and found a way to get back into society? In other words, is Lily fated to die?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Lily's fate or luck was all of her making. She never made good decisions and didn't look towards happiness. Even if she had lived and Selden had proposed, she probably wouldn't have said yes, in some sense of self pity...


10. How does Selden change over the course of the novel? Explore his struggle between his desire to stay detached from society and his love for Lily.

Selden makes many sacrifices for Lily. He often finds himself in the throes of the people who he least cares for, just for a chance of being close to Lily. He learns to tolerate many of their personalities and even excepts major flaws in Lily.
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Karen

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PostSubject: Re: Discussion Questions   Wed Jun 27, 2007 3:46 pm

What is the symbolic value of money in the novel? What does it mean to different characters?
Money could be contrued as life or death. take into consideration Lillys parents who die shortly after becoming ruined and Lillys inability to go on with life without it.

2. Does Lily change over the course of the novel? What motives her, and how do her motivations change?
I agree, Brienn. she was motivated by moneyand social standing but she also was extremely vain in her appearance and went to great lengths and expense to look the part.

3. What do you think it Lily's biggest flaw as a character? What is her "Achilles' heel"?
I thought it was her vanity. she cared too much about what others thought to ever make a decision about anything. She couldn't sa no to cards because she would look bad in the eyes of the crowd. She couldnt tell men no when the might put her in compromising positions because it wouldn make a fuss

4. Is Lily's death inevitable and necessary, or could she have recovered and found a way to get back into society? In other words, is Lily fated to die?
No, she wasn't fated to die. I think she was looking for a temporary escape. she could have made something of her of her life but maybeWharton was trying to show that her inability to let go of being wealthy would have never allowed her to accept help or a proposal from anyone.

5. Describe the differences between Lily's outlook on society and Selden's. What views do they hold in common? On what viewpoints do they differ?
Seldon didn't gorw up with money being an end all. He could see it was everything to lilly did they have any view points in common other than they both knew they loved one another.

6. Many of the married men in this novel lead boring and sad lives. Compare the attitudes and characterizations of Gus Trenor and George Dorset to those of Lawrence Selden and Simon Rosedale. What do they have in common with one another? What are their differences?
Both of the older men have been married a long time and at least one of them got married very young. I think they are bored with their lives and the entertaianments they are pressed into by their wives. Niether sound like they do a lot of work thus they have little gratification. They are drawn to Lilly becasue she is young, pretty and nice to them, stroking their male egos. The otther tow are young and attractive to women for separate reasons. the have work outside of the weekend parties which give them a feeling of worth.

7. How does the novel work with behavioral details? Pick three tiny details that Wharton uses to give the reader a clue as to what a character is thinking. You may want to consider Lily's blushes and smiles in the novel, as well as the role of lighting cigarettes in the novel. Or you can look at the opening scene, in which Selden plays a mind game with Lily to determine by her actions what she is doing.

8. How does this novel compare with another novel of manners you have read (see "The Novel of Manners" section)? You may wish to consider the novels of Jane Austen, Henry James of George Eliot.
they are all romances, all deal with inequality of the couples either by social standing, money, age or a comibnation of these. they make for tedious reading. I prefer something with more going on than the push and pull of class/sexuality, etc.
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