Lizzie Hazeldean was well aware that without her rich husband, Charles Hazeldean, she would not be able to maintain the lifestyle she had grown accustomed to. When Charles grew ill she recalls the days where she was unable to fend for herself and the thought of going back terrified her. It wasn’t till Charles and Lizzie got married that she was able to live the lavish life of a traditional Fifth Avenue women. She had the glamorous garments, high-heeled slippers, stockings, and other items made from lavish materials such as silk (252). Her lifestyle elevated greatly from the days of living with Mrs. Mant’s who treated her like a real-life Cinderella. Thankfully with Charles money, she was able to experience the evolution of rags to riches.
Upon Charles death, Lizzie acquired a large profit from his small estate which doubled and tripled in value. Also, her cousin Miss Cecilia Winters died leaving her a large amount of money (310). With two tragic events, Lizzie’s pockets grew large enough to maintain her luxury lifestyle.
Women that are apart of Lizzie’s community, have to maintain their wealth or risk going back to middle and lower class. One way in which upper-class women do this is by hosting events and staying active. In the book “Women of the Upper Class”, Susan Ostrander explains how the women in the class are more than high fashion, trip to Paris, champagne, and roses. These women have to be active in order to remain important within their own communities. Like Lizzie, women in the upper-class host parties, and events because it’s the social order of things. Without these “day-to-day activities, there are consequences” (1). In a research conducted, upper-class women define class as more than just income, rather it’s the “ownership of wealth, the exercise of power and the membership in an exclusive social network” (5).
Lizzie, a woman of wealth, was lonely after the death of her husband. She had a few friends, and most of them were men. The community still maintained a bitter taste for her because of her choices in her days of struggle. Despite the castigation, Lizzie held parties and performed for her friends. This act was one Lizzie had to do because she had to own her wealth and remind people of how important she was whether they like her or not. Lizzie lived a rather lonely life after her one true love Charles. Her biggest worry was money and ironically she acquired more than she could ever imagine but the hole in her heart grew as the wealth in her pocket multiplied.
Ostrander, Susan Women of the Upper Class, Women In The Political Economy Temple University Press 201