Monday, June 10, 2013

The Age of Innocence

by Edith Wharton

It seems like sociology was a major theme for writers in the late nineteenth century. If so, The Age of Innocence falls right in place, exposing much of the social structure in New York City during the late 1800's. Wharton details class attitudes, cultural mores and gender expectations through the relationship of  May Welland and Newland Archer. May is very conventional and is concerned about her place within her circle, her attire and the way her peers might judge her. While Archer also holds to these traditions, he struggles with the rigidity and desires change and freedom. 

While this was not my favorite book in this genre, it is very well written and adeptly expresses the atmosphere of that generation. My particular aversion to this novel was with the internal struggle faced by Newland Archer and the way in which May responded to his trial, despite the fact that I am certain those were both typical reactions. Personally, I'll say this book was okay.

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