Edith Wharton Essay

1543 Words Apr 2nd, 2006 7 Pages
Introduction – Grounding

"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it"

Vesalius in "Zante" (Bartlett 700).

Edith Wharton's outside appearance in no way reflected the inner struggles she dealt with her whole life. She was born into a wealthy, affluent, socially prominent family. On the outside it appeared she had everything, yet the reader will come to find that she had struggles like everyone else, possibly worse than the average person. Edith Wharton rose above society's walls to overcome barriers such as equality that existed for young women in the late eighteen hundreds. Edith Wharton was an author in the Age of Realism who stood out to me. I selected to research her because
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Her parents did not provide her any paper to write on or any novels to read because her mother felt it was not proper English. Against her mother's wishes she would write on paper from packages that were delivered to the house (Bolton 169).
As Edith Wharton got older she understood the high society less and less, which was contradictory to what I had assumed. At age seventeen Edith Wharton had her first debut. This debut was forced upon her based again on her social rank. This would go along with my assumptions, but this is not something Wharton did by choice, but by pressure and expectations from her parents. Aside from my assumptions she was the first writer among her family and friends. She stood out from the norm in such a wealthy class: the more she wrote the more her true self shown through, and the more her family and friends were embarrassed (Bolton 170). In 1885, Edith Wharton married Edward "Teddy" Wharton (Brackett 367). As a couple they traveled extensively and she lived her fashionable life as I had assumed. Teddy also never took interest in her creativity and her writings, as a result she stopped writing for a couple years (Brackett 368). Their marriage was miserable and Teddy suffered from a mental illness. Although her marriage was unhappy, she cared for her ill husband until she could no longer care for him. To relieve stress, Wharton found herself and began to write again

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