The House of Mirth

by

Edith Wharton

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Mrs. Haffen (the charwoman) Character Analysis

The cleaning woman at the Benedick, where Lawrence Selden lives, and at Mrs. Peniston’s house. She initially adopts a defiant attitude toward Lily Bart when she sees her leaving the Benedick, seemingly assuming that Lily is one of Selden’s lovers, and later launches negotiations for Lily to buy Bertha Dorset’s letters, revealing both her bargaining skills and her financial difficulties.
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Mrs. Haffen (the charwoman) Character Timeline in The House of Mirth

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Haffen (the charwoman) appears in The House of Mirth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1: Chapter 1
Gender, Class, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...was already very imprudent on her part. On her way out, she crosses an unpleasant cleaning lady and wonders if the  woman’s stare reflects her belief that Lily might be someone with... (full context)
Book 1: Chapter 9
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...operation. On her way up to her room, Lily has to ask a seemingly defiant charwoman to move and realizes that it is the same woman who works at the Benedick... (full context)
Money and Happiness Theme Icon
Gender, Class, and Freedom Theme Icon
Lily feels angry at the charwoman’s attitude, but also at being forced to stay at her aunt’s house longer than usual,... (full context)
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...to see Lily. When Lily sees her, she realizes with surprise that it is the charwoman from the Benedick. Sensing that this conversation might involve confidential matters, Lily takes the woman... (full context)
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
While Mrs. Haffen believes that Lily is the author of these letters and would want to keep them... (full context)