I was so excited to see this post — this book is one of my favorites and I enjoyed your analysis. I definitely agree that I sympathize a lot more with Rose now than I did before. I always thought it was horrible that the Mortmains had Stephen working for free — it’s interesting that he ends up ‘selling himself’ as a model as much as Rose tried to do, and uses the money he’s making to try to support Cassandra (he’s obviously still in that mindset of handing over his paychecks).
It’s interesting to consider Thomas, too, who — if I remember right — was always out visiting with friends and kind of relying on them for food and shelter.
Also, sidenote, I’ve always preferred the last line of the film adaptation — the end to the book felt a little less hopeful to me.