The Custom of the Country

by

Edith Wharton

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Mabel Lipscomb Character Analysis

Mabel Lipscomb is originally from New York, but she met Undine Spragg at a boarding school in the Midwest. Undine constantly measures herself against the people around her and tries to outdo them, and her ambitions in New York are motivated in part by a desire to prove that she can do better than Mabel.

Mabel Lipscomb Quotes in The Custom of the Country

The The Custom of the Country quotes below are all either spoken by Mabel Lipscomb or refer to Mabel Lipscomb. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Marriage and Divorce Theme Icon
).
Chapter 5 Quotes

It had become clear to Undine that Mabel Lipscomb was ridiculous. That was the reason why Popple did not come to the box. No one would care to be seen talking to her while Mabel was at her side. […] She had a way of trumpeting out her ignorances that jarred on Undine’s subtler methods. It was precisely at this point that there dawned on Undine what was to be one of the guiding principles of her career: “It’s better to watch than to ask questions.”

Related Symbols: The Stentorian, Fifth Avenue
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

“Oh, it all depends on you! Out in Apex, if a girl marries a man who don’t come up to what she expected, people consider it’s to her credit to want to change. You’d better think twice of that!”

“If I were only sure of knowing what you expect!” he caught up her joke, tossing it back at her across the fascinated silence of their listeners.

“Why, everything!” she announced—and Mr. Dagonet, turning, laid an intricately-veined old hand on, hers, and said, with a change of tone that relaxed the tension of the listeners: “My child, if you look like that you’ll get it.”

Related Characters: Undine Spragg (speaker), Ralph Marvell (speaker), Mr. Dagonet (speaker), Mabel Lipscomb
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Custom of the Country PDF

Mabel Lipscomb Character Timeline in The Custom of the Country

The timeline below shows where the character Mabel Lipscomb appears in The Custom of the Country. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Marriage and Divorce Theme Icon
Materialism and Ambition Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...to a handsome young Austrian. Shortly after promising herself to him, however, Undine ran into Mabel Lipscomb (née Blitch), who was originally from New York, but who went to the same Midwestern... (full context)
Marriage and Divorce Theme Icon
Materialism and Ambition Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Corruption Theme Icon
...Krakow to avoid criminal charges for scamming servant girls. Undine broke things off, and on Mabel Lipscomb ’s advice, the Spragg family took up residence in the Stentorian (where Mabel herself is... (full context)
Marriage and Divorce Theme Icon
Materialism and Ambition Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
After the Spraggs first arrived at the Stentorian, Mabel Lipscomb introduced Undine to the local society. While Undine was interested at first, she soon realized... (full context)
Chapter 4
Materialism and Ambition Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...a box, even though she’s going by herself. Eventually, she adds that maybe she’d invite Mabel Lipscomb to pay her back for how well she’s treated her in New York so far. (full context)
Materialism and Ambition Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
By invoking Mabel Lipscomb and the idea of reciprocity, Undine starts to convince Mr. Spragg to get the tickets.... (full context)
Chapter 5
Materialism and Ambition Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...is thrilled to finally be on the same level as the people in the boxes. Mabel Lipscomb joins her. Undine uses her opera glasses to scan the crowd. She notices that just... (full context)
Marriage and Divorce Theme Icon
Materialism and Ambition Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Just then, Clare and Ralph arrive to take their box, seemingly alone. Mabel Lipscomb asks Undine if they should call over to greet Ralph, but Undine quickly says no.... (full context)
Chapter 7
Marriage and Divorce Theme Icon
Materialism and Ambition Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
While Undine is getting ready, Mabel Lipscomb comes by to see her. She says she can help dress Undine because she was... (full context)
Marriage and Divorce Theme Icon
Materialism and Ambition Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...she isn’t acting and feels that she really does love him. Mr. Dagonet asks about Mabel Lipscomb . When Undine tells Mr. Dagonet that Mabel’s husband is a stockbroker, Mr. Dagonet sounds... (full context)
Chapter 25
Marriage and Divorce Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...since she was mostly just there for the divorce, and she spent some time with Mabel Lipscomb , who was in town for the same reason. But then a gentleman came for... (full context)
Chapter 26
Marriage and Divorce Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...social news that Undine happens to miss. The worst for Undine is when she hears Mabel Lipscomb has remarried. After getting the news, she tells Mr. Spragg that he must take her... (full context)