The House of Mirth

The House of Mirth

Percy Gryce Character Analysis

An extremely rich man of conservative, puritan values, Percy Gryce is universally known to be boring. Although he is initially fascinated by Lily Bart and considers marrying her, he later demonstrates his utter fear of socially unacceptable behavior when he flees Bellomont after hearing a rumor that Lily has borrowed money from a man.

Percy Gryce Quotes in The House of Mirth

The The House of Mirth quotes below are all either spoken by Percy Gryce or refer to Percy Gryce. 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 6 Quotes

“[…] your taking a walk with me is only another way of making use of your material. You are an artist, and I happen to be the bit of color you are using today. It’s a part of your cleverness to be able to produce premeditated effects extemporaneously.”

Related Characters: Lawrence Selden (speaker), Lily Bart, Percy Gryce
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:
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Percy Gryce Character Timeline in The House of Mirth

The timeline below shows where the character Percy Gryce appears in The House of Mirth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1: Chapter 2
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...take her mind off these unpleasant thoughts, contrives to make a man she recognizes, Percy Gryce, sit beside her. Mr. Gryce, who is very shy, has probably seen her but not... (full context)
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
Lily congratulates herself on setting the right tone for her conversation with Mr. Gryce, and keeping from making it seem too adventurous, which might frighten him. However, when the... (full context)
Morality vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Gender, Class, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
Mr. Gryce then suddenly looks distraught when a common acquaintance enters the carriage. Bertha Dorset then walks... (full context)
Book 1: Chapter 3
Money and Happiness Theme Icon
Gender, Class, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...of inequality, which she sometimes experiences). She then sees Bertha Dorset talking intimately with Percy Gryce. Although Lily knows that Mr. Gryce, whose boring stories she has had to hear all... (full context)
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Lily then reflects on Percy Gryce and concludes that he is clearly interested in marrying her. Imagining being married to Mr.... (full context)
Book 1: Chapter 4
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Lily and Judy then discuss Percy Gryce, whom Judy invited on purpose for Lily. Judy tells Lily that she is infinitely more... (full context)
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...and says that, if Judy would be doing so to keep Bertha from seducing Percy Gryce, she shouldn’t worry. Judy then exults at the idea that Lily has successfully seduced Gryce.... (full context)
Gender, Class, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
Over the next few days, Lily feels satisfied by her slow progress in seducing Percy Gryce. When she sees her cousin Jack Stepney with Gwen Van Osburgh, she realizes that their... (full context)
Money and Happiness Theme Icon
Gender, Class, and Freedom Theme Icon
Reflecting on her possible marriage with Gryce, Lily feels relieved that her money troubles might soon end, and that she might be... (full context)
Book 1: Chapter 5
Morality vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
Having planned to seduce Percy Gryce by convincing him that she is religiously observant, Lily plans to join him to go... (full context)
Money and Happiness Theme Icon
...she might one day have to consider marrying him if she failed to make Mr. Gryce propose to her. However, Lily was cheered up from these thoughts by the confidence she... (full context)
Morality vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
The next morning, as Lily imagines the endless tediousness of sharing a life with Percy Gryce, she feels that her plan to go to church is too rational for her not... (full context)
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When Selden sees Percy Gryce among the attendants, he realizes that this must be the person Lily wants to impress... (full context)
Book 1: Chapter 6
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...he is right, because she has used Selden’s presence as a way to make Percy Gryce only more interested in her. This afternoon, when she invented the excuse of a headache... (full context)
Book 1: Chapter 7
Morality vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Gender, Class, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...walk with Selden. This caused Bertha Dorset to become extremely jealous and to tell Percy Gryce that Lily is not the prude, conservative woman he believes her to be. She invoked... (full context)
Morality vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Gender, Class, and Freedom Theme Icon
At lunch that day, Bertha Dorset takes pleasure in making reference to Gryce’s departure, while Lily feels pained to think about how much money she has lost by... (full context)
Money and Happiness Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...pity for her current situation, in which she would be constrained to marry someone like Gryce (whom everyone knows is terribly boring) to have enough money to live. (full context)
Book 1: Chapter 8
Money and Happiness Theme Icon
Gender, Class, and Freedom Theme Icon
...are probably only temporarily resolved, since new problems can always emerge. When she sees Percy Gryce, she resolves to find a way to talk to him and try to seduce him... (full context)
Money and Happiness Theme Icon
Gender, Class, and Freedom Theme Icon
Gerty then mentions that Percy Gryce and Evie Van Osburgh, a quiet girl with a similar attitude toward life as Gryce,... (full context)
Gender, Class, and Freedom Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...intimacy. As she walks with Rosedale around the rooms, suddenly resolved to find out if Gryce is truly getting married, Mrs. Van Osburgh, who has been looking for Lily, hurries up... (full context)
Book 1: Chapter 9
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...Lily is forced to bear the subtly mocking comments that people are making about Percy Gryce’s upcoming wedding and its relation to Lily. Frustrated by having to act skillfully to show... (full context)
Money and Happiness Theme Icon
...the event. Mrs. Peniston mentions that she heard that Lily was supposed to marry Percy Gryce, but that he left suddenly one morning at Bellomont. Unwilling to discuss the issue, Lily... (full context)
Morality vs. Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...burn Bertha Dorset’s letters. However, after Mrs. Peniston’s mention of the reasons that made Percy Gryce flee Bellomont, Lily remembers Bertha’s role in the situation. Angry and ashamed, Lily decides that,... (full context)