Thursday, February 18, 2010

Silas Lapham

After reading some more of Silas Lapham, I noticed some interesting things. It seems like Silas is just unable to adjust to his new rich lifestyle. One of the best examples I've found of this is on page 146 where he gets into an argument with his wife and daughters as to how to get more aquainted with this new society.

He just doesn't seem to understand how society works, and refuses to take the advice of his wife on the matter.

"Don't you know that it wouldn't do to ask those people to our house before they've asked us to theirs? They'd laugh in our faces!" Mrs. Latham to Silas.

Previously, on page 139 or so, Bromfield Corey and others are discussing the Lathams and how they do not fit so well into society, if at all. They are amused that Silas Lapham does not have a single idea as to how society works, and as we can see, they are entirely correct.

I would like to think that in these modern day times these sorts of issues are not present, that is, earning a lot of money and being successful in business, but not being able to get in on the higher society. I think the traditions of giving dinners and such have died out for the most part, and unlike Tom and Bromfield's concepts of "good sense and right ideas" being a detriment to society have evolved to a modern day's view that good sense and right ideas, that is being a good businessman or woman are admirable attributes that are valued by high society.


  1. While I do agree that idea that one is part of the higher class or not regardless of financial status has changed, I think the reason for that has more to do with the financial instability of the times. Thanks to various factors, it has never been easier to multiply your bank account or go broke within the span of even a few hours.

    That said, I hardly think the idea of aristocracy has died out entirely. The proof of that is very simple. As long as someone watch someone, say at a formal event, and comment that they are well mannered for someone with their background, then it will be clear, atleast to me, that the idea of inherent class will be alive and well. Such ideas are more insidious more most care to think of.

  2. These are good specific examples, Brian. I'd agree with CrimsonK, however, that the idea of aristocracy hasn't died out entirely. I could invite Bill Gates to dinner, but I don't think he'd probably accept.

  3. I agree that Silas was not able to adjust to his new life and money. I also agree that the tradition of giving dinner had died, and it’s a shame cause it great to have people cook for you. Yes being considered a good business man now days is an admirable aspect and you could argue with certain groups its better than those that were just given their money.

    Charles Buescher

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