She looked back on her early years in New York as a time of social continuity, and felt that the passing of values from parent to child had a civilizing influence. As the story progresses an idea she has foreshadows what will indeed happen: ARCHER: I think she believes you might go back to your husband. Their well-ordered lives are disrupted by the return of May’s cousin, Ellen Olenska, a countess by virtue of her marriage to a Polish aristocrat. Struggle, struggle, struggle! Pushing away your thoughts would make the situation more intense. May Welland Archer is a product of the social code and hierarchy in which she was raised. Newland Archer is engaged to the extremely proper May Welland. Newland adopts the role of a society husband: He goes on a traditional society honeymoon with May, visiting museums, gardens, looks on proudly while May’s hands are modeled; he attends the Newport archery contest and supports May although he’s bored; he reads poetry to May in the evenings although he’d rather read about foreign countries. (Wharton, p. 9), Madame Olenska’s pale and serious face appealed to his fancy as suited to the occasion and her unhappy situation; but the way her dress (which had no tucker) sloped away from her thin shoulders shocked and troubled him.” (Wharton, p. 14-15). Newland does not seem to realize that soap, cleanliness, and fashionable clothing cost precious money to those in the lower class. But if she thinks I would consider it, that also means she would consider it for me. Can’t you and I strike out for ourselves, May?” (Wharton, p. 82), Newland ponders the propriety of pursuing Ellen during her stay in New York to nurse her grandmother. The... ...Roel Luna Jr. Therefore, they are ‘lovers’ (l. 40). This book is indispensable in studying Whitman’s work. Ellen’s focus on actuality causes problems for Newland, because he wants her and she often points out the true state of their situation: ELLEN: Newland. Ellen’s past, especially leaving her husband aided by a male secretary, threatens to tarnish her and all of those associated with her. Wharton implies indirectly that this letter indicates that the Countess has had an illicit affair. The characters use interdiction to halt seemingly predestined occurrences moving the story forward: Mrs. Mingott takes Ellen into her home to quiet gossip and show her support; Mrs. Archer and Newland go to the van der Luydens to stop Ellen’s social banishment; May quietly and determinedly undermines Newland’s efforts to make Ellen his mistress by telling Ellen that she’s pregnant. ELLEN: Shall I come to you once, and then go home? Later, when Mrs. Mingott tells Newland that Ellen may return to her husband, he replies without thinking: At the flower shop after Newland’s first visit alone with Ellen, he orders the usual bouquet for May. ELLEN: I know, but I’m a little impulsive. However, some new ways are starting to have influence, and the society is changing. S.: I ask people questions all the time. Thus, cultural conflict is the root of most American literature. your mind fight itself. Strand Reading--fiction SOL 6.5 7.5 8.5 May voices a similar idea concerning where Ellen might best be happy. and any corresponding bookmarks? But when he learns that she is pregnant, he falls into the role of a proper society husband, giving up Ellen and his drive for personal self-fulfillment. A few weeks later, Archer is confronted at his law office by the head of the firm, Mr. Letterblair. Being one of the main characters in the story she had many conflicts. The Age of Innocence, written soon afterward, is marked by several allusions to Wharton's dear friend and to his novel The Portrait of a Lady. He has just called on Countess Olenska to tactfully warn her about following the Duke to certain common parties. All main characters in the novel interact to create these conflicts, and the community is as well involved in these conflicts. [...] And he knew that now the whole tribe had rallied around his wife. Ned must face realities totally unknown to Newland, such as putting food on the table and a roof over his family, and if that means writing for a women's weekly, that is what he must do. Throughout the novel, various characters emerge who challenge the strict order of society and while they face a great deal of opposition, they often are far more complex and, more interesting than the characters who are a part of the old order. “What we see of him first is the perfect GARDENIA attached to the lapel of his jacket. He only becomes free when he’s an old man who believes that it’s too late for personal happiness. Sillerton Jackson guards the established code of conduct by being an expert on the lineage of all the best families in society.
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