Contradiction Between Innocence and Individuality in the Age of Innocence

6501 Words Nov 10th, 2011 27 Pages
CONTENTS

|ABSTRACT……………………………………………………………………… |2 |
|摘要……………………………………………………………………………… |3 |
|1 Introduction…………………………………………………………………… |4 |
|2 Individuality and Innocence in The Age of Innocence………………………… |6 |
|2.1 Ellen’s Individualistic Qualities………………………………………… |7 |
|2.2 May’s Artificial Innocence………………………………………………
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Later, he actually marries May but after their marriage, Newland dates with Ellen frequently and has planned to elope with her to Europe. However, to everyone’s surprise, May’s announcement of pregnancy smashes Newland’s wish thoroughly. It traps Newland in the excruciating marriage and expels Ellen from New York society. Thus, at the end of the story, the three characters all surrender to their destiny. Many major literary critics and authors have reviewed The Age of Innocence. The list of writers and scholars who have reviewed it includes such important figures as Carl Van Doren, Henry Seidel Canby, William Lyon Phelps and Vernon L. Parrington. The criticism of The Age of Innocence is roughly divided into two categories: Naturalism and Feminism. The former one thinks that this novel is influenced by Wharton’s growing background and the vast change of society. The latter one holds the opinion that the novel expresses the female constrain and rebellion. Both of the two views make sense. The Age of Innocence gives us a portrait of Old New York society in 1870s, a particular moment in history when individuality is shunned and a set of social rituals and conventions are enforced. During that period, it is common that the intellectuals, artists and writers are not welcomed by Old New York society members for they would probably bring about ideas and opinions that are disconcerting. On the contrary, most

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