Age Of Innocence Essay

604 WordsMar 22, 20093 Pages
Sir Joshua Reynolds' painting shows a five-year-old and Wharton chooses it to represent The Age of Innocence. More specifically, it represents May. May is shown to be an innocent, neive girl who does everything and anything to be accepted in society. It is depicted as though she has no independent train of thought and does just what she is told to do. The title is indeed ironic, however, because although May acts innocent and like she doesn't know what is going on, she really does know, yet she chooses not to act. She doesn't want to risk ruining her relationship with Newland Archer. Newland Archer believed that women should be able to speak their minds, and do what they want to do without facing the consequences of society. He ends up regretting this statement because Countess Olenska is everything he wants a women to be, yet he knows he can't have her because of May. He admires how she can stand up for herself, instead of May who does exactly what is expected of her. Although it is not as extreme nowadays, men and women are still expected to act appropriately and civil in New York. Though Wharton repected certain aspects of the people in the society of New York, there was a lot she made fun of them for; mainly the way they acted when dealing with other people. She showed how judgmental people can be, even back in that time period. In the “old ways”, people gossiped, and you were scarred for life if you made one mistake, because that was how judgmental they were. It was also a very friendly and social society, but it was almost too social. The “New Ways” still have gossiping and judgmental people, but they are more open minded and more willing to forgive for mistakes people make. People aren't expected to be as proper, but this can also be looked at as a negative aspect, seeing as the gentlemen aren't as respectful towards the ladies. Media,

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