The House of Mirth

by

Edith Wharton

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Gus Trenor Character Analysis

An unsophisticated, physically repulsive man, and Judy Trenor’s husband. Gus falls in love with Lily Bart after agreeing to help her invest her money on the stock market. Despite his traditional social upbringing, Gus proves socially incompetent, unable to grasp Lily’s subtle verbal cues and often giving way to aggressive excitement instead of self-restraint. A manipulative, violent, and vengeful aspect of his personality comes to light when he tries to force Lily to give him sexual favors in exchange for money.

Gus Trenor Quotes in The House of Mirth

The The House of Mirth quotes below are all either spoken by Gus Trenor or refer to Gus Trenor. 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:
Money and Happiness Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover edition of The House of Mirth published in 2002.
Book 1: Chapter 8 Quotes

The fact that her immediate anxieties were relieved did not blind her to a possibility of their recurrence; it merely gave her enough buoyancy to rise once more above her doubts and feel a renewed faith in her beauty, her power, and her general fitness to attract a brilliant destiny. It could not be that one conscious of such aptitudes for mastery and enjoyment was doomed to a perpetuity of failure; and her mistakes looked easily reparable in the light of her restored self-confidence.

Related Characters: Lily Bart, Gus Trenor
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile
Book 1: Chapter 10 Quotes

All her life Lily had seen money go out as quickly as it came in, and whatever theories she cultivated as to the prudence of setting aside a part of her gains, she had unhappily no saving visions of the risks of the opposite course.

Related Characters: Lily Bart, Gus Trenor
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire The House of Mirth LitChart as a printable PDF.
The house of mirth.pdf.medium

Gus Trenor Character Timeline in The House of Mirth

The timeline below shows where the character Gus Trenor appears in The House of Mirth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1: Chapter 1
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...explain that she is on her way to Bellomont, where their mutual friends Judy and Gus Trenor are organizing a party. Having just missed her train and waiting for the next... (full context)
Book 1: Chapter 4
Morality vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...has been divorced twice, and she complains about Mrs. Fisher borrowing money from her husband Gus Trenor, although she is grateful for the way in which Mrs. Fisher keeps her husband... (full context)
Book 1: Chapter 7
Morality vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Gender, Class, and Freedom Theme Icon
...Gryce leave. Mrs. Trenor then asks Lily if she can go pick up her husband, Gus Trenor, because she does not want Carry Fisher to do so, since she is afraid... (full context)
Money and Happiness Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
When Gus sees that Lily has come to pick him up, he feels relieved and the two... (full context)
Money and Happiness Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
Intrigued by the mention of Wall Street, Lily resolves to manipulate Gus so that he might want to help her financially. Despite feeling repulsed by Gus’s appearance... (full context)
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Love and Friendship Theme Icon
Lily suggests that Gus and she extend their trip a little bit instead of heading straight to the Trenors’... (full context)
Book 1: Chapter 8
Money and Happiness Theme Icon
Morality vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Weeks later, after Gus’s promise to invest Lily’s money on the stock market, Lily receives a thousand dollars from... (full context)
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Love and Friendship Theme Icon
Gerty Farish then trails off, looking at the presents, and Gus Trenor greets Lily in a loud, familiar tone, which worries and annoys her. Gus hands... (full context)
Money and Happiness Theme Icon
Gender, Class, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
Grumpy about Lily’s absence, Gus asks her to be nice to Mr. Rosedale as compensation, since most women present have... (full context)
Gender, Class, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
Gus Trenor, now accompanied by Simon Rosedale, reappears, treating Lily in a familiar way that makes... (full context)
Book 1: Chapter 10
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Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...she will accompany him to the opera and then proceeds to make veiled comments about Gus Trenor’s interest in Lily, even asking Lily about her investments in the stock market. (full context)
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Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...his potential power over her. Lily, however, feels disgusted and afraid at the idea that Gus might have told Rosedale about their business agreement. Reflecting on the issue, Lily wishes she... (full context)
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Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...the opera, she feels elegant and beautiful, and does not feel threatened at all by Gus Trenor’s presence. However, during a moment in which the two of them are left alone,... (full context)
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George Dorset then walks in, interrupting Lily and Gus’s conversation. George, who felt that Lily had been particularly kind to him at Bellomont, tells... (full context)
Book 1: Chapter 11
Morality vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...this resentment, Grace Stepney resolves to tell Mrs. Peniston about the rumors according to which Gus Trenor is in love with Lily, and that they might be romantically involved. After Mrs.... (full context)
Book 1: Chapter 12
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...rumors are now speculating about her relationship with George Dorset, Lily is more worried about Gus Trenor, whose moods are unpredictable, in part because of financial troubles, and who shows increasing... (full context)
Gender, Class, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...are extremely short-lived, Selden does not follow her. Instead, he walks inside and listens as Gus Trenor and Ned Van Alstyne crudely discuss Lily’s figure. (full context)
Book 1: Chapter 13
Morality vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Gender, Class, and Freedom Theme Icon
After dinner, Lily goes to Judy Trenor’s house, where Gus, not Judy, opens the door. Lily is surprised to note that Judy is nowhere to... (full context)
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Gender, Class, and Freedom Theme Icon
Lily, who feels deeply confused and increasingly anxious, angrily tries to convince Gus to call a cab for her, saying he has tricked her. Gus admits that he... (full context)
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Morality vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
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As Gus becomes more and more aggressive, Lily becomes increasingly vigilant. Gus then mentions that she owes... (full context)
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Moving from an effort at seduction and pity to pure aggression, Gus then implies that Lily must have already borrowed and “settled [her] scores” with Selden and... (full context)
Book 1: Chapter 14
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On his way to dinner at Gerty’s, Selden runs into Gus Trenor, who tries to convince Selden to dine with him, complaining that Judy has not... (full context)
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Gender, Class, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...which causes everyone to wonder silently, with amused smiles, if Lily has gone to meet Gus alone. Feeling oppressed by this atmosphere, Selden, who feels increasingly resolved to get Lily out... (full context)
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...of them discuss Wellington and Louisa Bry’s efforts at social climbing. However, when they approach Gus and Judy Trenor’s house, the two of them see a dark figure hurrying to a... (full context)
Book 1: Chapter 15
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...a doctor, which reassures her aunt. In her room, Lily calculates the amount she owes Gus Trenor and realizes that regaining her dignity and moral worth will cost her even more... (full context)
Book 2: Chapter 2
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...has allowed her to relax, blurring such problems as Rosedale’s proposal and her debt to Gus Trenor. (full context)
Book 2: Chapter 4
Money and Happiness Theme Icon
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...Peniston’s house after her aunt’s sudden death. Although Mrs. Peniston disapproved of Lily’s trip with Gus and Bertha Dorset, refusing to write to the young girl during that period, Lily is... (full context)
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...which Lily knows to interpret as outright rejection. Lily concludes that Judy probably knows about Gus giving her money, a practice that Lily knows Judy has always disapproved of. (full context)
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This interaction only heightens Lily’s desire to repay her debt to Gus. However, after writing to her aunt’s lawyer, Lily learns that she might need to wait... (full context)
Book 2: Chapter 10
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...entire legacy. For the first time, she tells the entire truth about her business with Gus Trenor and thinks it might make her feel relieved, but it also increases her sense... (full context)
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Reflecting on the necessity to repay Gus Trenor’s debt, Lily wonders if she could use her aunt’s legacy to open her own... (full context)
Book 2: Chapter 11
Morality vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...Lily is out of work and he insists that Lily accept a loan to repay Gus Trenor. However, Lily refuses to accept such a transaction, which reminds her of her failed... (full context)
Book 2: Chapter 13
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Afraid that in the morning she might change her mind about paying Gus back, Lily decides to write a check to him immediately, so that she will not... (full context)
Book 2: Chapter 14
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...by the side of the bed and discovers, on the desk, a letter addressed to Gus Trenor that initially rouses anger and jealousy in him. However, he also discovers that Lily... (full context)
Money and Happiness Theme Icon
Morality vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...that she received her aunt’s legacy the night before and addressed a large check to Gus Trenor, he finally understands that Lily had indeed received money from Gus, but could not... (full context)