Theirs was a joyless marriage and in Wharton began a brief but passionate affair with a journalist named Morton Fullerton. Shortly thereafter she moved to France. He became mentally unstable and the couple divorced in Wharton never remarried. Her first critical success, and still one of her most beloved works, was The House of Mirth , published in In her long, prolific career, Wharton published sixteen novels and novellas, eight collections of short stories, several works of nonfiction, and two volumes.
SparkNotes: The Age of Innocence
Her greatest literary achievement was The Age of Innocence , which won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. She also received the French Legion of Honor for her philanthropic work during World War I, and in , she became the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate from Yale.
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She died of a stroke in her home in France in Share: Share on Facebook. Add to Cart. In her long, prolific career, Wharton published sixteen novels and novellas, eight collections of short stories, several works of nonfiction, and two volumes of poetry. Why does Ralph kill himself? What drives Undine? Is it wealth, social status, or something else?
What makes Undine irresistible to men? Beauty is one thing, but is there anything else to account for her appeal? Compare the two portraits of Old New York found in these novels. What if anything do these two characters have in common?
The Age of Innocence ( Annotated)
The suspense, of course, lay in what, exactly, was going to become of Newland and Ellen. What Will They Do?? And what they wind up doing was nothing I saw coming.
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The prospective husband is not expected to go to his wedding night ignorant as to what he is supposed to do when he got there; in fact, quite the opposite. He thinks of May in all her hard innocence and ignorance, and is swamped by the responsibility of it, and, in a very modern way, by the flaws inherent in a system which demands that a husband is also, in many ways, a father to his spouse. And people wonder why feminism happened. It should be interesting to replace him with Daniel Day Lewis. He might not have struggled very hard if he did notice; he seems to be a great deal more idea than action.
May is … a piece of work. There is an outer appearance of all obedience and pliancy, but the hollow inner core is all an unyielding adherence to The Way Things Are, against which attempts to introduce new thoughts and ways bend and break or are deflected.
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She and May are two facets to the Innocence of the title, and, surprisingly, depending on your definition, of the two Ellen may be the more innocent. She is also in many ways the strongest of the three of them. Newland … not strong. Every chance he has to break from the stolidity he fears so much just … fizzles.
But Ellen — Ellen lived through unnamed horrors in her marriage, and instead of crumpling under whatever abuses there were she broke free, and back in New York proceeds to do much as she pleases, whether the family likes it or not, all the while sweetly interacting with the family in a genuine gratitude and affection, oblivious to their censure.
I can see Pfeiffer doing damaged but honest, and Ryder doing outwardly sweet and inwardly acid. I think I can be pretty objective here. Are you on Goodreads at all? May is the perfect society bride: Newland's role will be to train her in social tact, wit, and the art of "attracting masculine homage while playfully discouraging it.
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Throughout the novel she undercuts Newland's opinions to expose the hypocrisy of the social code. While Newland broadcasts "conventional," May Welland radiates "innocence. Wharton purposely chose an opera based on a play by Goethe where the older, more experienced Faust falls in love with the young, beautiful village girl, Marguerite, whose innocence parallels that of May Welland. May does not understand Faust's efforts to seduce Marguerite, but her romantic innocence is underscored as she looks at Newland's flowers and blushes.
Watching all these actions are two minor characters, yet their presence throughout the book enforces Wharton's themes of societal hypocrisy. Lawrence Lefferts is one of the biggest hypocrites in the novel. While judging others who break the social code, he is later protected by the very code he breaks. Sillerton Jackson is a prudish, prim, and pretentious Victorian who excels at gossip and back stabbing. He, like Lefferts, uses his opera glasses to peruse the crowd and comment on their behavior.
Throughout the novel these two will provide words and actions that propel the plot and sometimes cause mistaken assumptions in their social group. Above the Forties farther out from the fashionable center of the city. Luther Burbank's Josephine look a gown in the style of the first French Empire — named after Napoleon's wife, Josephine, empress of France — ; with a short waist, decollette bodice, flowing skirt, and short, puffed sleeves. Previous Character List.