Take a deep breath!!! You made it to the end of the first semester and you are still alive 🙂 You learned a lot. You read a lot. You wrote a lot. And you even smiled a lot. Life is good.
1.) This week I want you to finish working on your Timelines. Please make them nice 🙂 I gave you this project instead of a grueling comprehensive exam.
So be happy!!!
Here is a link to the instructions for your timeline assignment, which you probably are almost done with because I thought they were due this week!
Just a word of caution though, do not attempt to turn in your timeline on a single sheet of notebook or computer paper. Use poster board or something that says that you mean business, and your business is blowing my mind.
2.) I want you to watch a movie (it is PG). Because it is PG, please ask your parents permission, and have them look into the film and decide if you can watch it. I haven’t seen it in a long time, but I don’t remember anything utterly offensive. I own a VHS copy of it–vintage!
This book, if you were to read it, would be total bubble bath literature. You should always read The House of Mirth in a bathtub, because you need to feel pampered and at leisure so you can relate to the zeitgeist of it all. Click on the link for zeitgeist and learn a new word. So as you watch it, do something elegant–brush your teeth, clean your room, put on cologne or lip gloss, and eat some fancy chocolate.
Edith Wharton is actually a naturalist writer and this piece of literature belongs in the “Gilded Age” unit that you haven’t gotten to yet in history class. You are going to see the harsh realities of the upper class social circles, especially for a single woman.
There is a part in this movie where he holds her hand, and it is so sweet. It is more romantic than the “sloppy yet effective” kissing we saw in Romeo and Juliet last year.
In case you can’t follow the subtleties of the movie plot, here is a summary:
The novel tells the story of Lily Bart, an unmarried woman in New York society. The book begins with Lily’s visit to Lawrence Selden’s apartment, a man whom she has feelings for, but to keep her social standing, Lily must marry a wealthier man than Selden. She turns towards Percy Gryce, a young and timid millionaire. When everyone is convinced that Percy will propose to Lily on the next occasion, she suddenly changes her mind and steps back. This is clearly caused by an unexpected visit by Lawrence Selden, who is now convinced of his love for her, but does not want to risk marriage. Gryce soon marries another girl from the same circle.
Lily’s social standing erodes when her friend Judy Trenor’s husband Gus gives Lily a large sum of money. Lily innocently accepts the money, believing that it is the return on investments he supposedly made for her. The rumors of this transaction, and of her mysterious visit to Gus in his city residence, crack her social standing further. One day Lily receives a note from Selden. She is sure he is going to propose and accepts the meeting the next day. Selden, frightened by this sudden change of her heart (earlier she virtually escaped when he tried to kiss her), flees to Havana, and then Europe, leaving no notice.
To escape the rumors and gossip caused by her deal with Trenor, and also disappointed with Selden, Lily accepts an invitation from Bertha Dorset to join her and her husband, George, on a cruise of Europe aboard their yacht the Sabrina. Unfortunately, while aboard the yacht, Bertha accuses Lily of adultery with George in order to shift societal attention from Bertha’s own infidelity with poet Ned Silverton. The ensuing scandal ruins Lily, leading her friends to abandon her and her Aunt Peniston to disinherit her.
Lily tries to fight her way back to the high society, befriending Mr and Mrs Gormer, but Bertha Dorset gradually introduces them to Lily’s ‘scandals’ and undermines her new position. Now Lily is left with but two of her friends: Gerty Farish (Selden’s cousin) and Carry Fisher, who both are trying to help her cope with her changing situation. Their constant advice is that Lily marry, and quickly.
Lily descends the social strata, working as a personal secretary for a disreputable woman, Mrs. Hatch, but resigns after Lawrence Selden comes to rescue her from complete infamy. She then works in a milliner’s, but produces poorly and is let go at the end of the season. Simon Rosedale, the Jewish suitor who had proposed marriage to her when she was higher on the social scale, tries to rescue her, but she is unwilling to meet his terms: he wants her to use love letters she accidentally bought from her servant which prove the affair Bertha Dorset and Selden had years earlier. Lily refrains for the sake of Selden’s reputation, and secretly burns the letters when she visits Selden one last time. Eventually, Lily receives her $10,000 inheritance, which she uses to pay her debt to Trenor. Lily dies from an overdose, possibly accidental, of the sleeping draught to which she had become addicted. Hours later Selden comes to propose to her, but finds she has died. Only then is he able to be close to her in a way he never was able to when she was living and admit his true love for her. (wiki)
After watching the movie, go back over your notes on naturalism and see what characteristics this book has. Write your thoughts in the comment section below 🙂
“We resist the great temptations, but it is the little ones that eventually pull us down.”
“I have tried. I have tried hard–but life is difficult and I am a very useless person. I can hardly be said to have an independent existence. I was just a screw or a cog in the great machine I called life, and when I dropped out of it I found that I was of no use anywhere else. What can one do when one finds that one can fit into only one hole? One must get back to it or get thrown out into the rubbish heap–and you don’t know what it’s like in the rubbish heap!” (Wharton 498)
Also, why do you think that Edith Wharton chose to name the book The House of Mirth?
The Bible says, “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” Ecclesiastes 7:4.
What does that verse have to do with this movie? What is her point?
No journals and no grammar until next semester 🙂