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Tanya Auchampaugh American Voices Mr Hynes January 9 2001 The Gilded Age a time in New York City ruled by the nouveau riche a time of living within primitive tradition and customs The dramatic novel The Age of Innocence written by Edith Wharton explores the troublesome road a young May Welland must travel in order to survive and keep a good name among the New York City elite The novel also provides a look into the pain caused by an adherence to tradition By using social realism rich word choice third-person omniscient narrative and an epilogue Edith Wharton reveals the true evil of adherence to custom The young May Welland in The Age of Innocence was taught from an early age to follow the rules and obey men especially her father and future husband As a child she was not to speak unless spoken to and would not even begin to think about what she wanted This custom of raising a girl was to prepare her for marriage She was molded from birth into a plastic figure which would follow the distinct script of New York society It was unlady-like to talk freely to a man which was illustrated in a conversation whith her soon-to-be husband he joins her in Florida She wants to tell him what is on her mind but catches herself before saying too much because society would not accept a women with an opinion She desired to be a wonderful wife for Newland Archer by following his rules and doing everything he asked of her While she would have been a perfect lady for most men Archer was different He wanted a wife with a mind of her own one who could form her own opinions May was inadequate as a wife due to this She was repressed to a loss of love from her husband The facade she hid behind imprisoned her to a life of disconsolation
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