Sexism In Edith Wharton's The Age Of Innocence

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Our history illustrates the journey of human civilization. What we learned from history is that we grow and progress as a society because we learn from past mistakes and build off of them. Change is essential to this process of societal growth and development. Edith Wharton introduces the world to a special novel that targets the gender inequality and double standards present in America during the late 19th century. Specifically, she outlines the everyday life of New Yorkers during a period of fault where men majorly held the position of power in society. Newland Archer is the medium of which Wharton uses to show how sinister a patriarchal society can be. Most readers will see the book only as shame to sexism, but Wharton actually has a more profound conflict that she is trying to portray to the reader, and it is that very ubiquitous theme that helps facilitate the growth of humanity. In the novel The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton transcends the idea of patriarchal oppression and emphasizes a central motif of rejection to change because of the unforgiving nature of old New York society, which can be demonstrated by Newland Archer’s fiancee May Welland and the relationship between Newland Archer and Ellen Olenska.
May Welland is the epitome of old traditional gender roles who, by disregarding her own independence and mindlessly obeying her roles, is controlled by the strings of patriarchal New York. If Wharton wanted to address the static nature of old New York, May is the
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