THE AGE OF INNOCENCE

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					THE AGE OF INNOCENCE
           Edith Wharton
     Edith Wharton
(January 24, 1862 – August 11, 1937)
          Edith Wharton was a Pulitzer Prize-winning
          American novelist, short story writer, and
          designer.
          Many of Wharton's novels are characterized by a
          subtle use of dramatic irony. Having grown up in
          upper-class pre-World War I society, Wharton
          became one of its most astute critics. In such
          works as “The House of Mirth” and “The Age of
          Innocence” she employed both humor and
          profound empathy to describe the lives of New
          York's upper class and the vanishing of their world
          in the early years of the 20th century. In contrast,
          she used a harsher tone in her novel “Ethan
          Frome” to convey the atmosphere of lower-class
          rural Massachusetts.
                          Novels
The Valley of Decision - 1902                Ethan Frome - 1911


                    The Age of Innocence - 1920




The House of Mirth - 1905                     The Children - 1928
                 Main Characters
Newland Archer - The novel's protagonist, a wealthy
young lawyer married to the beautiful debutante May
Welland. He is in love with May's cousin, Countess
Ellen Olenska.
                               Countess Ellen Olenska - May's cousin and
                               Mrs. Manson Mingott's granddaughter. she
                               married a Polish count, which she left.
                               Upon her return to New York, she is not
                               accepted easily by the upper class, but to
                               Archer, however, she is free and truly alive.

  May Welland - Archer’s wife. She            Mrs. Manson Mingott -
  appears to be unassailably                  Grandmother to May and
  innocent. She remains a loyal wife          Ellen. She is an old aristocratic
  even after she suspects that                lady who wields great
  Newland is having an affair with            influence over the New York
  Countess Olenska.                           clan.
                    Other Characters
Henry and Louisa van der Luyden - The descendants of pre-Revolutionary Dutch
aristocracy, this elderly couple is the last word in social authority.
Julius Beaufort - A British banker and one of the most important and lavish
hosts of New York entertainment.
Regina Beaufort - Julius Beaufort's wife and Mrs. Manson Mingott's niece.
Mrs. Archer and Janey Archer - Mother and sister of Archer. Socially timid, they
love to gossip and they are devoted to Archer.
Lawrence Lefferts - The arbiter of good taste and moral values. Also a huge
gossip and an unfaithful husband.
Sillerton Jackson - The expert on the families that make up New York society.
Medora Manson - The eccentric old aunt of Ellen, who raised her after the death
of her parents.
Mrs. Lemuel Struthers - A woman on the fringes of New York society.
Count Olenski - Ellen's husband, a dissolute aristocrat who drove Ellen away
with neglect and misery.
                      Plot
Newland Archer is happily anticipating his marriage to May Welland.
But with the return of May’s cousin, Countess Olenska, everything
changes. Archer and May befriend her.

                            As Archer comes to know the Countess,
                            he falls in love with her, and becomes
                            desillusioned with his fianceé.

                             When Countess Olenska announces her
                             intention of divorcing her husband, Archer
                             persuades her to remain married.

                       Archer realises that he is in love with the
                       Countess, and asks May to shorten their
                       engagement. But when he tells Ellen that he loves
                       her, a telegram arrives, announcing that the
                       wedding will take place sooner.
                          Plot
After the wedding, Archer's memory of Ellen fades. Later on, while in
vacation in Newport, he is reunited with her. Back in New York, she and
Archer agree to consummate their affair.
But suddenly, Ellen announces her intention
to return to Europe. May throws her a
farewell party. After the party, she
announces to Archer that she is pregnant
and that she told Ellen two weeks earlier.

                              After 25 years, the Archers have had three
                              children and May has died from pneumonia.
                              Archer’s son convinces him to go to France,
                              where they arrange to visit the Countess
                              Olenska.

However, at the last minute Archer sends his
son alone to visit her, content instead to live
with his memories of the past.
                  Themes




 the struggle between the individual and the group;
 appearances are seldom synonymous with realities;
 New society versus old society
               Quiz
How is The Age of Innocence characterized?


    A social protest novel;

    An autobiography;

    A social critique;

    None of the above.
At the end of the novel, why is Beaufort
shunned from good society?


  His many illicit affairs are discovered;

  He supported Ellen Olenska's decision to sue her
  husband for divorce;

  His business affairs collapsed after some shady
  speculations;

  None of the above.
      Who is Mrs. Manson Mingott?


Ellen Olenska's grandmother;

May Welland's grandmother;

A spirited and corpulent old aristocrat;

All of the above.
Where do May Welland and Newland Archer
officially announce their engagement?

     At the Opera;

     At Beaufort's annual ball;

     In St. Augustine;

     None of the above.
What brings on Mrs. Manson Mingott's stroke?



     The effrontery of Regina Beaufort's request that Mrs.
     Mingott support her husband after his financial scandal;

     Ellen's refusal to return to her husband;

     A ham sandwich;

     None of the above.
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