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Critical essays on the age of innocence

Archer initially sees Ellen and her personal and social problems primarily as an annoyance.

  • Her marriage to Edward Wharton, a prominent Bostonian, assumed the same character as her own early life until it became apparent that he suffered from mental illness and would have to be hospitalized;
  • These concepts greatly aided me in developing the theoretical and methodological framework through which I analyze the text;
  • What is original and what makes this novel decidedly worth reading surely it is one of her two or three best works is her handling of her material.

He gradually begins to see the cosmopolitan and unconventional Ellen as a tempting alternative to May and what she represents. What is original and what makes this novel decidedly worth reading surely it is one of her two or three best works is her handling of her material. Newland Archer, the central character, is utterly believable in both his strengths and his weaknesses.

What kind of person is he? What are his strengths? How does he change over the course of the novel?

  1. The passage presents the voice of marriage as surface narrative authoritative discourse.
  2. What role do minor characters—for instance Julius Beaufort, Mrs.
  3. But Newland no longer sees her in this way. They lived in New York in the seventies, and nothing she can do will make them come alive again.
  4. They interest us as old letters, old newspapers interest us.
  5. The central theme is the struggle for passion within the constraints of an ordered society.

How does each central character see the others? What is the role of social convention in the novel? What role do rumor and innuendo play in this society?

  1. He easily adapts to the requirement of his conventional marriage.
  2. Both Ellen and Newland know that he cannot go beyond the constraints of his community that forces him to marry May; that is, forces him to remain with the boundaries of Old New York social customs by choosing the True Woman, representation of the values of Old New York.
  3. Our ideas about marriage and divorce are partially old—fashioned.
  4. Once you have read the entire novel, consider the following. He proves ambivalent again.

Once you have read the entire novel, consider the following. Be sure to look not only at the opening scene but also at statements by individual characters e. What role do minor characters—for instance Julius Beaufort, Mrs.

Watch the film based on this novel made by Martin Scorsese.

How does he see—and present—the central characters? What, if anything, do you make of this reversal? A note on texts: For those interested in some critical readings, Carole Singley has edited a critical edition of this novel with Riverside.

Puppets in a period

The Norton Critical Edition, ed. Candace Waid, is also available. Both are excellent sources of additional commentary and readings.

  • However, they have often addressed the representations of her female characters and the ways in which these figures revealed an oppressive social order for women;
  • What is the role of social convention in the novel?
  • These voices have the effect of challenging and disrupting the dominant, monologic and hegemonic discourses in the text;
  • May is simply torn.