Conflict Themes in "Age of Innocence" by Term Paper

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Conflict Themes in "Age of Innocence" by Edith Wharton

This paper looks at the Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton and discuses certain aspects within the novel, such as the central conflict themes, and the development of certain characters, this paper also looks at in brief the irony and symbolic nature of the time. Bibliography cites one reference.

The Age of Innocence: The Conflict

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton was written at a time when women were seen as second class citizens, the late nineteenth century saw better roles for women than writers, further more with such ideals and notions such as the social realism as Wharton brings forth she was left open to much ridicule, especially as at that time there was many a romantic style still dominating the literary scene.

As the novel begins on the opening night of the operatic presentation of Faust, the respectable Newland Archer is presented to the reader, here we see this man who is to be married to a woman of the same family and social standing as he himself comes from. "And he contemplated her own absorbed young face with a thrill of possessorship in which pride in his own masculine initiation was mingled with a tender reverence for her abysmal purity.
'We'll read Faust together... By the Italian lakes...' he thought, somewhat hazily confusing the scene of his projected honeymoon with the masterpieces of literature which it would be his manly privilege to reveal to his bride." (Wharton Chapter 1, pg. 13)

Newland is an effete snob, like many at the time they are fixated with the style and taste that their society leans towards, anyone of bad character or poor quality is spurned and yet here we see his fiancee associating herself with a woman of ill repute, further more the attire of the Countess is not one that fits well with the opera or what a respectable woman would be seen wearing.

Through out the novel we see tit-bits and glimmers of how the society reacts to certain situations for example during the ball after the opera, for example when the Countess does not come to the ball Newland and May both know that the reason for her absence is not so much the excuse of her dress but her bad reputation.

However, the plausible and simplest excuse to make….....

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