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The Rise of Silas Lapham

William Dean Howells

Summary and Analysis Chapter XV

Summary

In this brief chapter, Lapham apologizes to Tom Corey the day after the dinner party for his drunken behavior. Corey is more repulsed by his apology than by his behavior of the night before. After considering the Laphams' position, however, he decides that not only the Coreys but the Laphams could be hurt by the social fiasco, and he resolves to show them sympathy and respect.

Analysis

Silas is beginning to realize the reality of his social position. He says to Tom, "I was the only one that wasn't a gentleman there! I disgraced you! I disgraced my family! I mortified your father before his friends!"

Tom's decision to help the Laphams is somewhat romantic and unrealistic, but it is a noble act that comes too late.