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It all starts with a business protagonist, Silas Lapham's involvement in an interview done by Bartley Hubbard, a known journalist. Silas has a right attitude on how he acquired good money from paint business. Lapham's has two daughters namely Penelope and Irene (Howells, and Cook), Penelope was the intelligent one while Irene was frivolous and younger. His wife Persis brought up a strict family, they had Paint Company on their England farm before they relocated to Boston. Persis encouraged his husband to build a new house that would be located along Beacon Street. Silas works on the new project and looks for an architect, the architect manipulates Silas to being extravagant (Howells, and Cook).
As Silas and Persis visit their new building, they meet Mr. Rodgers. The two met earlier on when Mr. Rodgers had given Silas some money to start a business, of which later on he dropped him. Persis being polite and a puritanical reminder to Silas of his wrongdoings, he refused to get into the house that has been bought with "dirty money" (Howells, and Cook). The novel later switches to Corey family who is wealthy with old money as compared to Lapham who spends correctly to society. Tom terms love as supreme than cash, while his father Bromfield loves the idea of wealthy parents. Tom decides to visit Silas who is very enthusiastic in pant work which makes Silas like him. This makes his return home with Silas. Tom brings the idea of selling paints to European countries (Howells, and Cook).
Tom has an upper hand in starting the business in Europe because he knows foreign languages. Persis warns Silas that for Tom to wed Irene, he should not be included in the paint business. In spite of all that, Tom starts working in the course and he encounters Silas with Zuerrila Millon in a suspicious situation. Later on, a typist tells Tom that Silas protects the girl so much (Howells, and Cook). Silas spends lots of time on the Beacon Street, and his wife is displeased with it. She thinks he is focusing on Tom's marriage and spending time in the new house. Lapham's sister attracts Tom, and he requests his father to visit Silas in his office. His father visits though he tries acting nonplussed to the privilege (Tanselle).
He condescends towards Bromfield, where Tom falls in love with Penelope. Penelope does not subscribe to the thought as this will affect her sister's feelings for tom, she tells her mother as she figures a way of forgetting tom. Penelope's father hears about the so called "Tom's chronicles," and is not disturbed by its effects on the family because he is concerned about the connections (Tanselle). Further on, Silas visits Minister Sewell who is for the opinion that the pair should get married. Rogers bought land to develop mills with money given to him by Silas. The mills were worth more than the amount of money used in it, but the rail that runs to it had been bought. This renders Silas with no option but to accept the offer otherwise he cannot get his goods to the mills. Rodgers was loaned too much that it became a huge debt (Tanselle).
Penelope news was broken to Tom's parents, though it was heartbreaking, they had to accept Penelope as she is a sensible sister. Lapham sells his mills at low price and Rogers is mandated to find English businesspeople who will buy for a higher price so as to profit from the sales. Lapham's conscience debates on whether to tell businessmen that the mills are worthless. Penelope discovers there is a problem with his father and decides to have a talk with him one evening.
Penelope later realizes there is a payment made by his dad to 'Wm.M.' Lapham where he chooses to close his paint factory and stop selling the mills as the market increase in competition which he is unable to keep up with (Tanselle). Silas had to tell Tom to quit the business; Tom gives Silas a loan which he declines. Zerrillas mother demands rent which Silas gives him later. Zerrilla reveals then that his husband is a sailor whom she cannot divorce because given the circumstances at the time (Tanselle). Silas decides to sell the new house in Beacon. The next day as he visits the home he finds it burnt down accidentally by the fire he had lit the previous day. It had been out of insurance for almost one week before the incidence occurred. Silas' competition, Virginia Paint Company agreed to partner with his company if he can raise enough money as an investor (Tanselle).
Silas could raise the capital only by selling his stock to Englishmen at a hiked price, which makes him morally confused. Lapham decided to approach West Virginia Paint Company so that he can be given more time to come up with the money. Luckily Silas gets an investor but does not accept because the mills are not that much rated. Silas decided to move his family to the farm back to Vermont. He sold his high-quality paint and other mines to West Virginia Company. Tom Corey chooses to get employed with them. Tom married Penelope and relocate to Mexico in a paint market (Tanselle). The small town developed into a big city in the late 1800s. Generally, Howells lies in formal amplitude and the ability to encompass things concerning humanity. It widens the sympathy bounds and proclaims equality in the unity of men (Tanselle).
Howells, William Dean, and Don Lewis Cook. The Rise Of Silas Lapham. W.W. Norton, 1982.
Tanselle, G. Thomas. "The Architecture Of The Rise Of Silas Lapham". American Literature, vol 37, no. 4, 1966, p. 430. JSTOR, doi:10.2307/2923138.
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