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Extra resources for Cliffs Notes: Howells's The Rise of Silas Lapham
Who makes the Laphams aware of their unfashionable neighborhood? (Chapter II) 16. How does Mrs. Lapham feel about Silas' relationship with his former partner? (Chapter III) 17. What is Silas' reaction when he first encounters Tom Corey? (Chapter IV) 18. Give the background of Bromfield Corey's life. (Chapter V) 19. How does Tom Corey propose to join the Lapham paint business? (Chapter VI) 20. Why does Silas' attitude change toward the Coreys? (Chapter VII) 21. What does Bromfield Corey say about American parents?
Persis) 4. Why is Penelope a romantic heroine? (Penelope) 5. What is Bromfield Corey's view of civilization? (Bromfield) 6. What is Tom Corey's function in the book in regard to society? (Tom) 7. Why is this novel a tragicomedy? (Tragicomedy) 8. What is Howells' view of romanticism as opposed to realism? (Romanticism and Realism) 9. What constitutes Silas' moral rise? (Morality) 10. What is the condition of the late 1800 American society? (Society) 11. Is Bromfield Corey a true artist? (Art) 12.
Howells tells a story of people who fall in love, get married, have children, but never go to bed with one another. Howells' ability to mix comedy and tragedy was, then, necessary when writing a realistic novel, which was in 1885 the most representative of this kind of writing. Establishing the concept of Howells' work as realistic is important, for it must also be considered as a realistic version of a morality play. Silas is a modern-day Everyman, who, like the figure in medieval English church drama, must face temptation and overcome it.