Thursday, February 11, 2010

Old Against New

A recurring theme in both The Rise of Silas Lapham and Daisy Miller is the clash between people with old money and people with new money. Amazingly it is kind of one sided though. The families with new money seem oblivious to the ridicule that they receive from the old money families.

In Daisy Miller the Miller family, especially Daisy, does not live up to the rules that their money dictates. The family treats their servant, Eugenio, like a family member. Mr. Costello however, looks down on the Miller family for doing so. She constantly says that the family is "common". Daisy also does not realize the rules that she is to follow now that she has money. She frequently takes walks with men, when it is not appropriate, and because of these actions she is eventually shunned.

Even though I have not completed The Rise of Silas Lapham yet, the same is occurring here. The Lapham family has gained their fortune just recently by selling paint. The Corey family is the old money family that looks down on the Lapham family, and thus sees them as not being cultured.

For me there is a disconnect with me and what is happening in these two stories. I realize that at the time that these stories were written that this is a relevant theme of old against new, but I can not connect with what is going on.

1 comment:

  1. Ken, it can be difficult to connect with this idea when this isn't the defining feature of the WSU culture, but these kinds of distinctions still exist in some places.