Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lily + Seldon and Sarah + ?

I have really enjoyed the House of Mirth so far. I have always been fascinated by the 1920's and the time around that period. Ever since I read the Great Gatsby in my junior year of high school, I have just been enfatuated with the glitz, glamour, and sparkle of what was going on during the '20s. The book also really reminded me of Gossip Girl. . upper New York, caddy "friends", money, love. .it's just really interesting.
The talk in class today hit really close to home. So often we question potential relationships with people. We are fearful of rejection because we don't know how the other person feels. While reading about Lily and Seldon and what they could have been when they went for a walk was just really frustrating. We as the reader can see that they could work together and both would no longer be alone but the two of them can't see that because they don't know how the other is going to react. They are both scared of rejection from the other person when in fact the other person is not going to reject them.
We have all been through this in life. We get scared when things get intimate because we are embaressed, we don't know if we are doing things right, we don't know how the other person feels or what the other person is thinking. Seldon and Lily both, I feel, are doing all the things that we do in a situtation like that. They are weary of what might happen if something goes wrong, if another person comes into the picture, and then they may feel like the idiot. It's life and life just happens sometimes.
Seldon and Lily are so frustrating to me because I know what it is like to be in their position. I always over think, overanalyze, never knowing how the other person is feeling. Do they feel like I do? Did I do something to turn them off? Why didn't I say something when I could have? Having been hurt in the past for not acting, I have a quote that I know always turn to when I'm too scared to take the leap and I think that this quote is relavent for Seldon and Lily:
"Sometimes we need to stop analyzing the past, stop planning the future, stop figuring out precisely how we feel, stop deciding exactly what we want, and just see what happens."
I hope that Seldon and Lily are both strong enough to figure out what THEY want, not what they think the other person wants. Because in the end, wouldn't it be better to be embarrsssed temporarily and really figuring things out or would it be better to hurt and wonder over the other person for the rest of your life? Sometimes I just wish I could take my own advice. . .maybe I will this time.
Thanks for reading!


  1. Sarah, the producers of _Gossip Girl_ draw quite a bit on Wharton, so the connection you're making between the two is right. The over-analysis does seem to be stopping Lily and Selden from taking any action.

  2. I noticed the connection as well with Gossip Girl but I didn't want to mention it, haha. I just can't help but disagree about the tragic love between Selden and Lily. TV shows like Gossip Girl are really good at making the audience feel a sense of chemistry between two characters, playing them up as soul mates and making the audience really attached to the idea of them eventually getting together. I believe this is what Wharton does as well in House of Mirth and she is very talented at it. But that build up of chemistry rarely translates to a lasting relationship, the individual flaws of each character eventually drives them apart despite their chemistry. In order to be happy with Selden, Lily would not just have to submit to her feelings, she would also have to completely change all of the values she's grown up believing in. While the reader may not agree with these values, they are engraved in her individuality and could not be destroyed simply by admitting her love.