In a surface examination of the work of Nathaniel Hawthorne, it is quickly evident that no good things come from the wilderness. Therein, the wilderness is often associated with the savages and the devil. In his work The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne finds herself exiled by society for having an adulterous affair with the town reverend which brought forth the child known as Pearl. Pearl is quickly established as the child of the wilderness: wild, capricious, and thought by the town to be a demon-child. She represents several entities in the novel just by her being, but when her morality is delved into, much more of the nature of the story can be revealed. Pearl’s role is often overlooked as a formative force in the novel. Some scholars have gone as far as to denounce her as unnecessary to the story’s makeup. Upon close examination, it can be determined that Pearl is indeed a necessary element. In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Pearl presents themes of morality, both personal and cultural, as well as the divide between society and nature, through her interactions with Hester, Reverend Dimmesdale, and the scarlet letter itself.
The children In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter play a major role in the Puritan society. With their honest opinions of Hester and Pearl, the children are presented as more perceptive and more honest than adults. Due to their innocence, children are capable of expressing themselves without constraints; there are no laws or regulations that they are bounded by. As an adolescent go through the stages of life and grow older, they begin to be more conscious of the how they act as they are more aware of society and the things that are occurring in the world, creating a filter for their actions. When they remain as the children, on the other hand, are adventurous; they are still exploring the universe that seems to fill with mysteries that are bound to be solved. They tend to attach to the truth and they are not afraid to speak it freely. Children differ from adults in their potential for expressing these perceptions. With their obliviousness to the things that are actually going on around the town, children therefore react differently compared to the adults, who are more knowledgeable. Perceived to be immature, young children are presented as more perceptive and more honest than adults due to their innocence, how they are unaware of the reality and the crimes that are presented in society by the adults enables them to be blithe and not afraid of saying what they feel like. Due to their naivety, when they express what they perceive to be true, they do not get punished,
Women who had no claim to wealth or beauty received the harshest of realities in America’s Victorian era. Author Charlotte Bronte – from America’s Victorian era – examines and follows the life of a girl born into these conditions in her gothic novel Jane Eyre (of which the main character’s name
In this passage from her autobiography, “One Writer’s Beginnings”, Eudora Welty recalls early experiences of reading and books that had later impact on her craft as a writer of fiction. Welty’s language conveys the intensity and values of these experiences with the use of imagery, with the use of diction, and the use of details.
She has been trained to trust in her husband blindly and sees no other way. He calls her “little girl” (352) and “little goose” (349) and states “She will be as sick as she pleases!” (352) whenever she tries to express her issues. Instead of fighting for what she thinks will make her better she accepts it and keeps pushing her feelings aside, while he treats her like a child. We get an instant feel for her problem in the first page when she says, “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that” (pg 346). A woman shouldn’t expect her husband to laugh at her concerns. Even after briefly writing about her condition she remembers her husband telling her the very worst thing she can do is think about it and follows his instructions. This is when she begins to focus on the house instead of her problems and the obsession with the wallpaper starts. She has nothing else to think about alone in the home; they don’t even allow her to write, which she has to do in secret.
By noting the subtitles of human conditions under the stress of strict societal control, Edith Wharton created literature that is true to the society she portrayed. Mrs. Slade and Mrs. Ansley probably would have liked to cause each other bodily harm, yet their society ruled that such behavior would not be tolerated. Therefore, they buried their feelings and expressed them only in subtle movements and off the cuff remarks, bits and pieces of communication that most people would overlook. However, Wharton realized that these fragments composed the only true communication and therefore composed the real story of Mrs. Slade and Mrs. Ansley.
Women in society sometimes are subject to objectification, meaning they are treated as a mere object; unequal to men. In the novel, The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton, this holds true, except, women are said to be equal to men, but are not treated in this exact manner. Lily is apart of the upper class society of New York and attends parties, gambles all her money, and throughout the whole book tries to marry a rich man. Wharton’s feminism is apparent in the way she treats Lily; Lily gets through society, merely by keeping up her appearances. Beauty and appearance are everything in this society, if you are beautiful you will get far in society, however, the only thing Lily is lacking is wealth. In the novel, feminism is present with the idea of appearances and the symbol of money is used to convey that men are needed to control a women’s social stability.
In Edith Wharton’s powerful work Ethan Frome, she introduces two leading female characters and instantly creates a comparison of the two within the reader’s eyes. This, not coincidentally, is the same comparison the protagonist Ethan constantly faces and struggles with throughout the novel. On one hand, Zenobia, commonly called Zeena, Frome has been a long-standing part of Ethan’s life. Years of marriage, although not always happy, combined with her always declining health, cause Ethan to feel indebted and sympathetic towards her. While, on the other, Mattie Silver, a relative of Zeena walks into the life of the Frome’s, and with her brings a new feeling of life and vitality to which Ethan has never experienced before. Her appearance in
The balance of power has been one of mankind’s most prominent and fought-over issues, particularly among the two sexes. Men are biologically predisposed to be more powerful, and humans have historically associated a male’s physical strength with authority. At the same time, women have been conditioned to yield to a man’s power, and have been taught that men are meant to hold economic, societal, and domestic control, as displayed by New York’s high-society in Edith Wharton’s timeless novel The Age of Innocence. Yet, power is an unquantifiable, metaphysical idea completely unrelated to one’s gender. Power is held in the eye of the beholder, and over time, women have used this idea to manipulate and control men without them even knowing. In doing so, women have been creating their own power for centuries, though society does not recognize it nor give them credit for having as much control as they do. Despite its setting in a patriarchal 19th century society, Wharton manages to defy even modern gender roles by contrasting the influence of resolute Ellen Olenska—a presumably promiscuous noblewoman—with lawyer Newland Archer’s submissiveness so as to suggest that women truly hold power over men during this time.
The life of a lady in the 19th century is painted in a romantic light. Pictured in her parlor, the lady sips tea from delicate china while writing letters with a white feathered quill. Her maid stands silently off in the background, waiting for orders to serve her mistress. What is not typically pictured, is the sadness or boredom echoed on the lady’s face. Perhaps the letter is to a dear friend, not seen in ages, pleading with the friend to visit, in hopes that the friend will fill the void in the lady’s life made from years spent in a loveless marriage; or possiblyk20 the lady isn’t writing a letter at all, but a novel or a poem, never to be read by anyone but her. Edith Warton and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, are 19th Century ladies who dare to share their writing with the world. Through their works, the darker side of a woman’s life in the late 1800’s is exposed. Gender politics in the 19th dictates that a lady is dependent on her husband for her financial security and social standing; that is if she is fortunate enough to marry at all. In Edith Warton’s The House of Mirth, Lily Bart is a beautiful woman in her late 20’s, who fails to marry a wealthy man. The narrator in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper slowly goes insane under her physician husbands misguided attempts to cure her of depression. The downfall of Lily Bart and the narrator of The Yellow Wallpaper is
Born in 1862, Edith Wharton Newbold Jones was brought up within the graceful, wealthy yet conservative, confining circle of New York society, which fostered sexual repression and prided itself on the innocence of its young girls. Edith Wharton herself was discouraged from expressing her emotions or developing her intellect which was supposed to be very unbecoming traits in a woman. This is the reason why she stressed in her fiction the need of growth, and has shown how painful and frustrating this process can be for a woman. This process of growth and development is revealed in her major works, Ethan Frome (1911), and Summer (1917) (Balakrishnan 1).
Novelist Edith Wharton wrote her defining work, 1905's the House of Mirth, on a subject she knew all too well: the style-over-substance realm of New York's upper-crust society during the Gilded Age. Having been raised in this "fashionable" society, Wharton knew both its intricacies and cruelties firsthand. The triumphant rise and tragic fall of protagonist Lily Bart demonstrate both the "sunshine and shadow" of the Gilded Age. The House of Mirth not only exposes the reality of how "the other half live," but also satirizes and condemns their elitist existence.
Through choice of detail and diction, Edith Wharton justifies Frome’s adultery by juxtaposing the warm, charismatic nature of Mattie to the cold, barren one of Zeena. While his wife speaks in a “monotonous” (129) “flat whine” (32) her cousin’s “suffuse[s] him with joy” (44). Despite the fact that both women are frail and sickly, Zeena’s “puckered throat” and “protruding wrists” (47) disgusts Ethan, while Mattie is so “small and weak-looking that…it wr[i]ng[s] his heart” (106). Throughout the novel, Wharton’s choice of detail drastically contrasts the two women, one a vivacious, vigorous beauty, the other a walking, whining corpse. From their physical looks alone, Zeena is hard to love—sterile and dark—while Mattie—fertile and warm—is easy to. The author intentionally feeds this bias, allowing the readers to feel the same temptation that Frome has in the novel. However, he
Throughout the novel, the author’s voice appears to criticize the empty morals of Old New York, where she once belonged. With refined use of irony, Wharton explored the established social order that prevented individuals to deviate from the traditional structure. The novel’s Archer Newland is one who failed to break “through barriers of convention” and can’t escape “steely embrace of the tribe” (Auchincloss 44). Despite being the protagonist, Archer fails to break away from the tight-knit group. Archer’s life is in a settled pattern; His indecisiveness prevents expression (McDowall 54).
In Henry James’s “Daisy Miller” and Edith Wharton’s “The Other Two,” the narrators each disclose the complications of their party’s social formalities during circumstances within their own society. In both short stories, Winterbourne and Waythorn try to figure out their adored ones character and motives but for different reasons. In “Daisy Miller,” it’s noticeable that Mr. Winterbourne ends up longing for Daisy Miller as he tries to fully categorize the character she’s carelessly ruining. While in “The Other Two,” the narrator examines a society of how a married couple, Waythorn and Alice, adjust to an awkward