I’m answering the WEM wrap-up questions
Do you sympathize with the characters? Which ones, and why? (WEM pg 80)
Do you know with whom I sympathize? Gerty Farish.
She’s kind. She’s generous. She’s charitable. She’s accepted her lot in life. She’s done more than accept it. She enjoys it. Going to the ritzy wedding earlier in the book didn’t make her jealous or depressed like it did Lily Bart. Gerty savors the evening but then is content to go back to her tiny apartment and go on with her less than glamorous life.
But then Book 1, chapter 14 happens.
Did you foresee Gerty’s crush on Selden?
Gerty likes Lily Bart. Selden really likes Lily Bart. When the two discuss their misguided friend, Gerty misunderstands Selden’s rapt attention.
But then things become clear.
The little confidential room, where a moment ago their thoughts had touched elbows like their chairs, grew to unfriendly vastness, separating her from Selden by all the length of her new vision of the future–and that future stretched out interminably, with her lonely figure toiling down it, a mere speck on the solitude.
For a moment I worried about Lily Bart. I knew things were going to get progressively worse for her. Gerty had been her true friend.
But when Lily shows up later, afraid to be alone, Gerty sets aside her own feelings and comforts her.
Gerty deserves some sympathy.