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The House of Mirth

Edith Wharton

Character Analysis Gerty Farish

Gerty Farish is an idealized depiction of American womanhood unspoiled by wealth and entitlement. A physically plain woman, she remains a steadfast supporter of Lily, despite the fact that she knows that her secret love, Lawrence, is instead in love with Lily.

Gerty's simple life would be considered "dingy" by Mrs. Bart's standards, and Lily herself disparages Gerty's lifestyle to Selden in Chapter I. Lily scoffs that Gerty is not "marriageable — and besides, she has a horrid little place, and no maid, and such queer things to eat. Her cook does the washing and the food tastes of soap."