Teacher Guide

House of Mirth Lesson Plan

Introduction to House of Mirth

The House of Mirth opens on Lily Bart at the height of her social powers. She is an impeccable member of the upper crust of society, always knowing exactly what to say, do, and wear. She is primed and ready to marry the most eligible bachelor in town, Percy Gryce. This does not happen as planned, though. From this height, the rest of the novel outlines her steady decline down the rungs of the social ladder of New York in the Gilded Age. She goes from scornfully rejecting the marriage proposal of a nouveau riche Jewish banker to being in turn rejected by the same man just a year later; from setting the fashion trends among the women to sewing the spangles on their hats in a lowly...

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