The House of Mirth

The House of Mirth

Grace Stepney Character Analysis

Mrs. Peniston’s niece and Lily Bart’s cousin, Miss Grace Stepney proves resentful and unforgiving. After blaming Lily for excluding her from a fancy dinner at Mrs. Peniston’s house, Grace nurtures a lifelong grudge against Lily and refuses to help her when the young woman finds herself penniless. She uses morality and social convention as an excuse to take revenge on Lily, convincing Mrs. Peniston of Lily’s immoral behavior and blaming Lily for leading a degraded life.
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Grace Stepney Character Timeline in The House of Mirth

The timeline below shows where the character Grace Stepney appears in The House of Mirth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1: Chapter 9
Money and Happiness Theme Icon
Gender, Class, and Freedom Theme Icon
...possibly picture anything adventurous. Mrs. Peniston, too, would have preferred her family member and friend Grace Stepney’s presence to Lily’s, because Grace is better at helping with domestic affairs such as... (full context)
Book 1: Chapter 11
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
In the meantime, after Jack and Grace Stepney’s honeymoon, Mrs. Peniston decides to organize a dinner at her own house. The prospect... (full context)
Morality vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
Because of this resentment, Grace Stepney resolves to tell Mrs. Peniston about the rumors according to which Gus Trenor is... (full context)
Morality vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
Grace further mentions that Lily has also accepted attentions from George Dorset, but Mrs. Peniston, unwilling... (full context)
Book 2: Chapter 4
Money and Happiness Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...dollars. However, when the lawyer reads Mrs. Peniston’s testament, Lily receives only 10,000 dollars, whereas Grace Stepney inherits all of Mrs. Peniston’s estate. Despite Lily’s utter shock, no one seems to... (full context)
Money and Happiness Theme Icon
Morality vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...one year to receive her inheritance. As a last recourse, Lily thus decides to ask Grace Stepney if she might be willing to advance her inheritance money for her. However, Grace... (full context)
Book 2: Chapter 5
Morality vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
When Lily leaves Mrs. Peniston’s (now Grace’s) house, she feels that she is leaving her old life behind. However, as she is... (full context)