Tuesday, November 29, 2011

House of Mirth: Movie versus Book Ending

The ending of a book is the final taste of the author's message. It dictates how the reader is left feeling once the last word is read. The ending of House of Mirth follows this idea, leaving the audience with the feeling of regret, loss, and betrayal at the temperament and rules of society. Having Lily kill herself because it is the only solution she can see as an exit to her situation allows the audience to understand the workings the market of society brought to light by Ashina in her presentation today. In addition, having Seldon behave the way he did also shows the practice of ignoring and displacing guilt. He knew that he played a part in Lily's death and in instead of recognizing and embracing the guilt, chose to never trust Lily. This ending makes a strong statement, but leaves a bitter aftertaste, but it is the exact opposite of mirth.
The movie ending on the other hand, showed resolution and brought to light the great sacrifice Lily committed to protect the man she loved. In having the truth come out, the audience is able to feel that justice was served and that her life went unanswered and faded from existence.Also, in having Seldon confess his love for Lily, the viewers feel relief and a small happiness in him actually voicing his feelings instead of burying them deep down in speculation and the constant clinging to gossip to avoid the feeling of guilt. For this reason, I feel more emotionally satisfied with the movie ending because the audience is given a small prize, but in for stronger and more impacting ending, that leaves the audience thinking, the book is better.

1 comment:

  1. Good points about the different endings, Kristen. There is something satisfying about the movie version, as you say, but the book's ambiguity does leave you thinking.