S-Space College of Humanities (인문대학) English Language and Literature (영어영문학과) 영학논집(English Studies) 영학논집(English Studies) No.32 (2012)
『환락의 집』에 나타나는 가정성과 계급 : Social Class and Domesticity in The House of Mirth
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 인문대학 영어영문학과
- 영학논집, Vol.32, pp. 69-94
- Becoming on the novels title, the description of different houses in The House of Mirth reveals the changed notion of home and domesticity in the early 20th century. Contrary to the cult of domesticity pervading the previous century, Edith Wharton depicts the upper class houses as theatrical stages for the fashionable society, in which each member performs the promised role for the marriage market and the wealth is exhibited through the house parties and consumption. These spectacular houses reflect how the fantasy of domesticity, including the individual freedom, secrecy, and morality of nuclear family, is threatened and questioned by the commercialism and the urbanization. The function of the female also alters from the earlier one, the matriarchal figure which was idealized as the center of nurturing and healing power in the private retreat: being both a chief actor to show off her husbands wealth and by herself a rare and expensive property purchased by the marriage competition, a wife in the fashionable society is the crucial object of the conspicuous consumption. As a result, all the values which were traditionally considered domestic, such as the private emotion, familial affection, or the actual
household, are now rejected as trivial and unnecessary, if not despicable.