May Welland In The Age Of Innocence

Words: 1507
Pages: 7

When somebody finds the right person for them as a life partner that person should never base his choice upon agreement with the societal view rather than his own personal view. In the “Age of Innocence”, written by Edith Wharton, there is a character by the name of Newland Archer who is a high society lawyer in New York who is “conflicted with two love stories” (Bloom 94) between his fiance and her cousin from Europe. In the novel the main character consist of Newland Archer, if May Welland, and Countess Ellen Olenska. Newland Archer should have chosen the woman that made him happy rather than what made society happy because of his true passion for Ellen; Newland’s choice resulted in him being emotionally hurt at the end of the novel.

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Newland said, “I just want us to be together!” (Wharton 187). He is talking to Ellen when he says this. He is expressing his desire to be with her rather than on being with May Welland. Ellen is not in favor of this because as stated in the previous paragraph, she does not want to live as a mistress for the rest of her life, “I can’t be your wife, Newland! Is it your idea that I should live with you as your mistress?” (Wharton 187). Newland also tries to get Olenska to finalize her divorce plans after he told her not to in the past because of all the shame she would bring to herself. In result of that Olenska tells Newland, “Isn’t it you who made me give up divorcing - give it up because you showed me how selfish and wicked it was, how one must sacrifice one’s self to preserve the dignity of marriage… and spare one’s family the publicity, the scandal?”(Wharton 187). Olenska’s response to Newland’s pursuit in her reopening the idea of divorce was not what he expected because of how he portrayed divorce in the first place of kind of a selfish thing someone were to do. Resulting of those events Newland and Ellen agree not to run off with each other and get married because of Newland’s relations with her cousin May. There are more reasons to marry the right girl rather than to base it off …show more content…
A big reason on why Newland has such a passion and or attraction to Ellen is because of her mysterious past and her unconventional way of doing things. For example Thomason says, “When he meets Countess Ellen Olenska, Newland is drawn to her mysterious and unconventional ways.” (Thomason 1). What she is saying is on how Newland is attracted to her way of doing things different than others in life such as the whole divorce idea. When Newland took his first glance at Ellen he knew that she was his equal rather than May. Newland says, “As he spoke, he took a swift glance about the conservatory, assured himself of their momentary privacy, and catching her to him laid a fugitive pressure on her lips.” (Wharton 25). This quote emphasizes one of Newland’s most cynical moments within the novel. The quote explains on how he has not been entirely happy with May because she is not on an equal level of intellectuality, so he feels that she is not good enough catch for him. In Newland’s mind Countess Ellen Olenska fills out all those roles because of her unconventional ways of doing things such as the divorce plans since that was not a common occurrence in the New York society. Since Newland did not pick the life partner that was right for him and that he had a passion resulted in him having an unhappy rest of his