Comparing Immorality in The Rise of Silas Lapham and The Octopus Essay

Comparing Immorality in The Rise of Silas Lapham and The Octopus Essay

Length: 2637 words (7.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Motivation of Immorality in The Rise of Silas Lapham and The Octopus

 
    In both William Dean Howells' The Rise of Silas Lapham and The Octopus by Frank Norris, a character is faced with the moral issues involved with operating his business. Howells' character, Silas Lapham (The Colonel) and Norris' Magnus Derrick are both desirous to have a prominent position in their respective societies, but are in the precarious situation of having to deploy immoral methods to achieve this coveted stature during the course of harder times. Each man has aspirations to be powerful, prestigious, famous, and/or wealthy. In combination with their lack of humility for their lofty position in society and their over ambitious definition of success, both are caused great distress on the path and during the fight to reach this egotistic plateau. The image created through their business venture became the primary tool to evaluate their own personal vision of success, and in doing so, the two men's morals and values became tainted, family relations were hurt and even devastated, in addition to creating social debacles that caused incredible harm to many others.

   Silas' background consisted of poverty, hardships, and hard work. He acquired his own wealth and that opened doors that were unknown to him or his family. The Colonel's background and attributes led him into an awkward situation of always attempting to appear in society as something that he is not. He is a common, vulgar man, doing his best to appear sophisticated, educated, and knowledgeable, when, in fact, it is only his wealth that connects him to the upper class. His incredible wealth places within him the motivation and false sense of obligation to conform to the tastes and pre...


... middle of paper ...


... or power or fame. The path to attain these goals is often filled with corruption, heartless doings, and unsympathetic forces. To see past material possessions and to crush one's ego and its self-centeredness should be sought. To accept one's lot in life and attempt to not control forces outside of one's power or nature should be admired. Being concerned with one's family as a primary responsibility and acting accordingly should be hailed an accomplishment. To face an evil force sweeping into one's reality and being able to hold onto one's morals and values in spite of it, an achievement.

 Works Cited

Howells, William Dean. The Rise of Silas Lapham. New York: Signet Classic, 1983..

Marx, Karl. "The Alienation of Labor." Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Richard Hooker, 1996: 1-9.

Norris, Frank. The Octopus. New York: Penguin Books, 1986.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about The Rise of Silas Lapham

- The Rise of Silas Lapham The virtue of the novel according to Howells lies in its formal amplitude, its ability to encompass all things, and connect all humanity. The aim of the realistic novel is to "widen the bounds of sympathy" and to proclaim the "equality of things and the unity of men." Look at the above in light of the argument Tom Corey has w/ himself after Lapham's outpouring of shame and self abasement following the disastrous dinner party. Are you convinced. What is at stake. In what way is this a turning point....   [tags: Rise Silas Lapham Essays]

Free Essays
426 words (1.2 pages)

Character Manipulation in The Rise of Silas Lapham Essay

- Character Manipulation in Howells' The Rise of Silas Lapham           Of all the characters who undergo change in The Rise of Silas Lapham, Lapham's change is the only one looked upon in a positive light by the narrator. William Dean Howells uses the corruption of other characters to promote Lapham's newfound morality and reinforce his ultimate triumph. Before Lapham's financial ruin, he is the only character with fault. Yet as his world crumbles, so does the credibility and innocence of his wife, two daughters, and former partner, Mr....   [tags: Rise Silas Lapham Essays]

Powerful Essays
2075 words (5.9 pages)

Description of Enteroctopus Dofleini Giant Octopus Essay

- There are over 200 different octopus species found worldwide, but the North Pacific giant octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) is the largest octopus of its species; its name derives from its genus belonging to the enteroctopus, located in the coastal north pacific in shallow waters. “Perhaps the most reviled and misunderstood' ( William L. High September 1976) creature; they aren't harmful but they are curious beings, not vicious sea monsters like we see in movies. They don't have an aggressive nature; their curiosity is a remark of their incredible intelligence....   [tags: pacific octopus, octopi, marine biology]

Powerful Essays
1451 words (4.1 pages)

The Simple Life of Silas Marner Essay

- The Simple Life of Silas Marner The life that could be lived in a village at 1861, which was so near of the time of the Industrial Revolution, is a simple life. People at that time were simple minded, and care most about their work. They do not understand much of their religion, as it is exemplified in the novel. We could see that when Mrs. Winthrop talks about that she does not understand much of what she hears or read on Sunday services, still she believes since her heart in relief to what it said....   [tags: Silas Marner Essays]

Free Essays
373 words (1.1 pages)

Comparing The Three Fathers In Silas Marner Essay

- Comparing The Three Fathers In Silas Marner Silas Marner, is a book of great depth, considering many types of situations that people still find themselves in today. It gives us an inner view on how people used cope with their troubles during the period of the industrial revolution, be they minor or major ones. George Eliot reveals human nature perceptively, humourously, and extremely intelligently. She is a brilliant writer, who is able to capture our hearts throughout the book....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
2827 words (8.1 pages)

The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells Essay

- The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells In the novel, The Rise of Silas Lapham, William Dean Howells makes a particular point about the morals of an individual in the business world. His point is that an individual, such as Silas, must check their morals at the door if they have any plans to make it in the business world. The novel has always been popular, partly because it presents Lapham's financial and social failure as "consciously and deliberately chosen" when he has to decide whether he shall cheat and stay on top in business or tell the truth and fail irrecoverably (Gibson 283)....   [tags: Papers William Dean Howells]

Powerful Essays
1873 words (5.4 pages)

George Eliot's Silas Marner Essay

- In Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge transforms from a notorious miser to a humbled, kind-hearted soul as a result of three spirits who apprise him of life's true meaning. Mirroring Scrooge's evolution, in George Eliot's Silas Marner, Silas also transitions from a recluse in society to a rejuvenated man because of a little girl who crawls into his heart. Initially, Silas is lonely man who finds solace from his past with money and solitude. When Eppie enters Silas' home, he begins to understand that there is more substance to life than hoarding gold....   [tags: Analysis Silas Marner Eliot]

Free Essays
778 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on Themes in Silas Marner

- Themes in Silas Marner Silas Marner, written by George Eliot in 1861, attempts to prove that love of others is ultimately more fulfilling than love of money. This theme shows throughout the book, though the manner in which it is revealed leaves a bit to be desired. Often Silas Marner is criticized for being such a simple, unrealistic story. It does seem odd that after fifteen years of almost solitary confinement, Silas can trade his love of gold for his love of a daughter overnight. Despite Eliot’s attempt to portray Silas’s reawakening to society as a slow transition, the reader interprets his change of heart as a direct and immediate result of Eppie’s arrival....   [tags: Silas Marner Essays]

Free Essays
487 words (1.4 pages)

The Triangular Silas Marner Essay

- The Triangular Silas Marner         As a result of betrayal, Silas Marner of George Eliot's so titled novel becomes a man in body without incurring any of the duties normally associated with nineteenth century working class adults. Eliot creates these unusual circumstances by framing our title-hero so it appears to his comrades that he has stolen money. Thereby, she effectively rejects innocent Marner from his community and causes him to lose his fiancé. At this pivotal moment in Marner's life, just as he is about to assume fully the role of a man, depended upon as such by his neighbors, future wife and probable children, he is excised and does not successfully complete the tran...   [tags: Silas Marner Essays]

Powerful Essays
2584 words (7.4 pages)

Essay about Octopus

- Recently, researchers have discovered the existence of an extremely unique type of octopus. The species, known as the Indo-Malayan octopus, has the ability to alter its shape, form, and color pattern to mimic or imitate other sea creatures in order to avoid predation (2). The discovery of the mimic octopus is noteworthy because no other type of cephalopod is known to have impersonation abilities. The octopus is also not limited to one imitation. Researchers have observed up to eight different formations....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
1097 words (3.1 pages)