the fall of silas lapham

Satisfactory Essays
In William Dean Howells’ novel, The Rise of Silas Lapham Silas is a very greedy selfish person who does not care about anything except climbing the social ladder. He has false social aspirations and his lust for power help his business to flourish as he rips people off and steels people’s money. As Silas begins to get higher and higher on the social ladder he begins to realize that his dreams are empty and have no real value as he achieves them. His greed and selfishness then come back to haunt him causing him to feel pain over things that he had done and while trying to rectify his wrongs he goes too far and fails his business. Silas Lapham’s character shift from selfish greed to honest unselfishness caused the collapse of his business and the loss of his money.
In the beginning of The Rise of Silas Lapham the character of Silas is already very rich and very successful, but as you go deeper into the character there are problems that arise. After Lapham runs into Rogers, an old business associate whom he had forced out of the company, he tells his wife, “ I hadn’t anything to say to him…I supposed he was dead…[and] I should want you should recollect in the first place, Persis, that I never wanted a partner.” (46). Lapham has no regrets about what he did to Rogers, and it is this selfishness that caused his business to sky rocket. After the discussion with Rogers Mrs. Lapham tries to get Silas to admit his mistake when she says:
No; you had better face the truth, Silas. It was no chance at all. You crowded him out. A man that saved you! No, you had got greedy, Silas. You had made your paint your god, and you couldn’t bear to let anybody else share in its blessings. (47)
The greed of Silas Lapham led him to remove his part...

... middle of paper ...

... help my poor wife.” (331) As Rogers leaves Silas feels like he has done the wrong thing when in reality he did the right thing in not scamming more people but all it got him was more sadness.
The story of Silas Lapham is an odd one in that when Silas is greedy and dishonest he gains everything, but as he starts to change into an honest person he loses everything. Silas lost everything as he became a better person because everything that he wished to obtain was hollow and could only be attained through deception and lies. By building he company off of greed and hate Silas set himself up for failure in that the only way that his company would have kept on prospering and growing was through more lies and more deception. The change from no morals to a caring person triggered everything around Silas that he thought was worth something to collapse.
Get Access