Contradiction Between Innocence and Individuality in the Age of Innocence

6533 Words Nov 16th, 2011 27 Pages
CONTENTS

|ABSTRACT……………………………………………………………………… |2 |
|摘要……………………………………………………………………………… |3 |
|1 Introduction…………………………………………………………………… |4 |
|2 Individuality and Innocence in The Age of Innocence………………………… |6 |
|2.1 Ellen’s Individualistic Qualities………………………………………… |7 |
|2.2 May’s Artificial Innocence………………………………………………
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Elizabeth Ammon once argued that women “like Wharton, Cather and Stein” were “the real giants against whom” writers such as Fitzgerald and Hemingway “needed to define themselves.” The Age of Innocence was the most sophisticated novel written by Edith Wharton in the year of 1920, when American women first had the right to vote. Wharton reviewed the 1870s New York upper-class society in the sight of 1920s. Like most of her works, The Age of Innocence tells a story about love and marriage among three characters: Newland Archer, Ellen Olenska and May Welland. Young lawyer Newland and beautiful girl May announce their engagement at the party for welcoming the return of Ellen Olenska, May’s cousin who was born in New York but later has grown up in Europe and married a wealthy Polish Count. Ellen comes back to New York for her family’s support and comfort because of her husband’s unfaithfulness. However, as she claims to divorce, the whole family as well as the whole Old New York society strongly opposes to it for they regard divorce as scandal and humiliation. So they send Newland to persuade Ellen from her decision. However, Newland is gradually fascinated by Ellen’s confidence, sophistication and individuality, which he never feels from his innocent fiancée and inevitably falls in love with her. He hesitates between the two totally different women and vacillates whether he run
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