Henry James, book report
Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady and Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth examine the societal constraints of their female protagonists, and the limited possibilities open to them in the midst of wealthy society. Isabel Archer and Lily Bart are victims of a rigid society in which the independent lifestyle they desire is only acceptable for women who are either 'unmarriageable' or exceedingly wealthy. Despite this commonality, the two characters
showed first 75 words of 2870 total
showed last 75 words of 2870 total
'a brief bath of oblivion' due to lack of sleep and utter emotional exhaustion lead to her untimely death. Isabel is a much stronger person than Lily and chooses to live with the consequences of her mistakes even if that means being miserable and unsatisfied with her life. Both characters strive for independence, but ultimately the result of all their 'free' choices, which they feel compelled to accept, lead them to an inevitably tragic end.