Her protagonists are most often tragic heroes or heroines portrayed as intelligent and emotional people who want more out of life. Wharton's protagonists challenge social taboos, but are unable to overcome the barriers of social convention. Wharton's personal experiences, opinions, and passions influenced her writing. Her family on both sides was established, old-money New York business aristocracy.
Background[ edit ] The Age of Innocence was a softer and more gentle work than The House of Mirthwhich Wharton had published inand which was set in the time of her childhood.
In her autobiography, Wharton wrote of The Age of Innocence that it had allowed her to find "a momentary escape in going back to my childish memories of a long-vanished America She had spent her middle years, including the whole of World War Iin Europe, where the devastation of a new kind of mechanized warfare was felt most deeply.
We frame the ending remembering the multiple losses… not only the loss of Roosevelt but the destruction of the prewar world and all that Wharton valued in it. Though the novel questions the assumptions and morals of s New York society, it never develops into an outright condemnation of the institution.
Wharton was 58 years old at publication; she had lived in that world and had seen it change dramatically by the end of World War I. The title is an ironic comment on the polished outward manners of New York society when compared to its inward machinations.
It is believed to have been drawn from the popular painting A Little Girl by Sir Joshua Reynolds that later became known as The Age of Innocence and was widely reproduced as the commercial face of childhood in the later half of the 18th century.
Ellen has returned to New York from Europe after scandalously separating herself per rumor from a bad marriage to a Polish count. Living apart can be tolerated, but divorce is unacceptable.
He succeeds, but in the process comes to care for her; afraid of falling in love with Ellen, Newland begs May to accelerate their wedding date, but she refuses. Newland tells Ellen he loves her; Ellen corresponds, but is horrified that their love will aggrieve May.
She agrees to remain in America, separated but still married to Count Olenski, only if they do not sexually consummate their love. Newland and May marry. He tries unsuccessfully to forget Ellen. His society marriage is loveless, and the social life he once found absorbing has become empty and joyless.
Though Ellen lives in Washington and has remained distant, he is unable to cease loving her.
Their paths cross while he and May are in Newport, Rhode Island. Newland discovers that Count Olenski wishes Ellen to return to him, but she has refused, although her family wants her to reconcile with her husband and return to Europe.
Frustrated by her independence, the family has cut off her money, as the count had already done. Newland desperately seeks a way to leave May and be with Ellen, obsessed with how to finally possess her. Despairing of ever making Ellen his wife, he urges her to become his mistress.
Then Ellen is recalled to New York City to care for her sick grandmother, who accepts her decision to remain separated and agrees to reinstate her allowance.
Back in New York and under renewed pressure from Newland, Ellen relents and agrees to consummate their relationship. However, Newland then discovers that Ellen has decided to return to Europe.
Newland makes up his mind to abandon May and follow Ellen to Europe when May announces that she and Newland are throwing a farewell party for Ellen. That night, after the party, Newland resolves to tell May he is leaving her for Ellen.
She interrupts him to tell him that she learned that morning that she is pregnant; she reveals that she had told Ellen of her pregnancy two weeks earlier, despite not being sure of it at the time. Hopelessly trapped, Newland decides to remain with May and not to follow Ellen, surrendering his love for the sake of his child.
Newland is stunned at the prospect of seeing Ellen again. On arriving outside the apartment building, Newland sends up his son alone to meet Ellen, while he waits outside, watching the balcony of her apartment. Newland considers going up, but in the end decides not to; he walks back to his hotel without seeing her.
Since childhood, his life has been shaped by the customs and expectations of upper-class New York City society. His engagement to May Welland is one in a string of accomplishments. His life changes when he meets Countess Ellen Olenska.Edith Wharton’s novel The Age of Innocence is a story of unrequited passion, with Newland Archer’s decades-long love for Ellen driving the narrative forward through societal, personal and.
Essay on Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton’s novel, The Age of Innocence, has an ironic twist to the plot of the story. The official definition of irony is: the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
The Age of Innocence Essay January 5th The Death Of Innocence Characterization is a description of qualities or peculiarities. In “The Age of Innocence” Edith Wharton uses characterization over plot to emphasize the ways in which a death of innocence is taking place in society.
The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton - Essay Edith Wharton. Homework Help The Age of Innocence. Edith Wharton.
The Other Two. Edith Wharton.
Summer. Edith Wharton. Popular Study Guides. Edward II. The Age of Innocence Edith Wharton The Age of Innocence essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.
The Age of Innocence is filled with irony about innocence — true innocence, feigned innocence, ironic innocence, and unhappy innocence.
Wharton's life, the Gilded Age of the novel, and the characters all contribute to the irony of the novel's title. By the time she wrote this book, Edith Wharton.