The Age Of Innocence By Edith Wharton

1558 Words7 Pages
' 'The family-oriented 1950 's were perhaps the last decade in which women 's behavior and social norms were in agreement, ' ' according to the study, entitled ' 'American Women in Transition. ' ' There is much controversy on the social norms of women. In her well credited novel The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton uses gender roles to emphasize that women are seen inferior to men while portraying that it is socially acceptable in their society to objectify women and categorize them based on their actions. She uses two highly contrasting characters that both embody desirable traits as well as inexpedient traits in order to convey this. Wharton’s parents were wealthy conservatives who belonged to New York’s upper class. At the age of 23, she wed a wealthy upper class man as her parents had wanted. Wharton was not fond of any of the events which came along with the lifestyle, leading her to a nervous breakdown a few years into her marriage. When she was younger she had written short stories and poems, so subsequently when she had her break down it was recommended that she start to write again. She wrote the novel incompletely as a representation of her own life and struggles.
Newland Archer evidently holds a predisposition for objectifying Countess Ellen Olenska as well as May Welland. Wharton describes this perception of May on page 6 of the novel as, “he contemplated her absorbed young face with a thrill of possessorship in which pride in his own masculine initiation was
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