The House of Mirth

Edith Wharton

Chapters 13-15

Summary Chapters 13-15

Nevertheless, the recovery she desires is one that is built on love, which means many things, including social admiration. It is interesting that in Lily's own mind, there are two remedies for her situation: love or death, both of which would bring her equal relief from her problems. This parallels, of course, the two possible endings for a prototypical novel of manners (see "The Novel of Manners" section). In the case of The House of Mirth, Lily will ultimately find her refuge in her own death, which may or may not be an intentional suicide. Nevertheless, at the closing of Book One, we are at the beginning of the end of Lily's social prestige. Book Two chronicles her slow expulsion from society and decline; however, the mention of love and death at the end of Book One seems to indicate that Book Two could go either way. Perhaps it is only chance, which will be discussed further in later sections, that blocks out the possibility of love, and leaves only death.