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The Age Of Innocence, By Edith Wharton

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The Age of Innocence
The Age of Innocence is a romance and tragedy novel written by Edith Wharton. This story is about how a gentleman, Newland Archer, is getting married to May Welland, the daughter of a high status family, but falls in love with her cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska, who moved to New York City from Europe. He attempts to run away with Ellen multiple times but she refuses to, she also understands that they cannot be together, especially since Newland is already engaged to her cousin. Although he realizes this, he constantly makes excuses to see Ellen and spends time with her nonstop. Throughout the story, Newland, who is a sophisticated gentleman becomes greedy for women, and is depressed because he realizes that life cannot …show more content…
May lied to Ellen saying that she is pregnant so that Ellen will leave Newland alone. Newland does not know this and assumes that the Countess does not want to be with him anymore. He still wants to be with Ellen and not May, but Oleska had enough of him and shouted, “For us? But there is no us in that sense! We’re near each other only if we stay far from each other. Then we can be ourselves…” (Wharton 291). Ellen realizes that it is impossible for them to be together anymore and they should go their own paths. When this happens, Newland accepts that he will never be with her and regrets seeing her that day. He becomes depressed with the rest of his life that he spends with May, “... Anyhow, I want to make a break-” “A break? To give up the law?” “To go away, at any rate-at once. On a long trip, ever so far off-away from everything-” (Wharton 342). He expresses his sadness tremendously due to the lack of presence from Countess Olenska. He cannot believe that he gave her up and let her go. Ellen was what kept his world interesting because she spoke against society which no one else dared to do, and with her gone, he realizes how boring everything is, even May. This depression resulted in him wanting to go to other places, just not where everything is black and white like this society in New York …show more content…
Although he was depressed, he stayed in New York with May after she became pregnant and had kids. After a few years, Newland was praised by the Governor of New York, he said, “... You’re the kind of man the country wants, Archer. If the stable’s ever to be cleaned out, men like you have got to lend a hand in the cleaning,” (Wharton 346). The Governor of New York likes how Newland is in society and praises him deeply. As he think about this, he understands that his life is just answering peoples’ questions and wonders how this must be the ideal life. He also looks back in his life, constantly thinking of being with Countess Olenska and realized that she is something so unattainable and improbable. Even in Newland’s dying days, he thought of Ellen and visited her when she came back from her trip. He went with his son, Dallas, to see Countess Olenska but as the windows parted on the fifth floor building, he suddenly heard himself say, “It’s more real to me here than if I went up,” (Wharton 362). He stays faithful to May and does not see Ellen even at the end of the book. Newland has not changed since the beginning, but he learned that he was chasing after something that he only believed in and left his dreams behind. He followed society up to the end and this is better for him in society, he chose to stay in New York where rules cannot be broken and continuing to follow them will keep his status in

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