Examples Of Ellen Olenka In The Age Of Innocence

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The Alienation of Ellen Olenska The Age of Innocence, written by Edith Wharton, is a story of forbidden love in New York during the late nineteenth century. Throughout the novel, a major component is learning about the morals and values of upper-class New York. Many of these characteristics become displayed indirectly through Ellen Olenska, an alienated member of this society due to her European background. In the novel, Ellen acts as a gateway for the reader to learn about the society. Through Ellen’s alienation, the reader learns that the upper-class society of New York likes uniformity, disapproves of European culture, and values gender roles. Through Ellen’s alienation, the reader learns New York’s upper-class values uniformity. When Ellen, the cousin of May, first appears in the novel, it has a negative connotation because her dress causes her to stand out from the rest of her family. Because Newland Archer notices her due to her revealing, colorful dress, it displays a uniformity of dress and culture. Things and people who stand out are those who do not follow the norm, and …show more content…
One of the major reasons Ellen is alienated is due to the fact she will not go back to her husband. The fact everyone would rather have her in a failing relationship instead of her being separated shows they are a patriarchal society with unspoken expectations. Another example of the importance of gender roles is shown when Janey says “It’s odd… that she should have kept such an ugly name as #Ellen. I should have changed it to Elaine” (34). This helps to characterize gender roles and literary theories because it discusses the idea the role of a woman characterizes itself with characteristics of being unintelligent and being unable to decide things for themselves. Because Ellen is alienated even for the way her name sounds, the importance of gender roles in society is