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The Rise of Silas Lapham

William Dean Howells

Character Analysis Rogers

Silas forced Rogers out the paint business after he had made a start with his partner's capital. A tallish, thin man with a dust-colored face and a dead, clerical air, which somehow suggested at once feebleness and tenacity, Rogers reappears to ask Silas for a loan. To protect the loan, Silas invests more money but is forced to demand repayment when his business has to compete with one that is underselling him. Rogers' proposed solution is for Silas to sell the mills that he holds as collateral to English agents at a price that is more than they are worth. He is Lapham's antagonist, as he places temptation before him. He causes Silas' moral rise as a comic character and his tragic fall as a businessman.