The Age Of Innocence Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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which the unsaid played a crucial role in the novel were the circumstances surrounding Ellen Olenska’s final departure from New York. When Newland had tried to revel his feelings for Ellen Olenska to May in Chapter XXXII, May cut him off with her announcement that The Countess was planning on returning to Europe. Arguably, May was attempting to leave unsaid something that she already knew. For a long while she must have known of Newland’s affair with her cousin. This brings into question all of the other circumstances surrounding Ellen Olenska’s departure. Although it was never explicitly said in the novel, one could assume that upon finding out about her pregnancy, May discussed the situation with her cousin Ellen in order to make certain that her affair with Newland would

not ever be announced. This must have led to The Countess’ decision to move to Europe, as it was the proper thing to do to allow her cousin May to maintain a long-standing marriage for the sake of her unborn child. All of this, at the time, was left entirely unsaid, however, the reader would have had to deduce very little in order to be certain that this was what must have happened. Not until the end of the novel are all of the suspicions of the reader realized. After May’s death, Newland reluctantly travelled to Europe with his eldest son. In what was, by far, the most emotionally charged passage of the novel; the reader is finally shown exactly what May Welland/Archer knew of her husband’s affair with Ellen Olenska. After the conversation where Dallas asked his father if

Ellen Olenska was once his love, and the woman he would have “chucked everything for” only he didn’t, Dallas reveals to his father a conversation he had with his mother the day before she died. “Yes: the day before she died. It was when she sent for me alone—you remember? She said she knew we were safe with you, and always would be, because once, when she asked you to, you’d given up the thing you most wanted.” (Wharton 356) To see the significance of the unsaid in The Age of Innocence, one must only see the power that things left unsaid had in holding together a society such as the one that existed in New York during the time of the novel. Things that went unspoken, but were left to be solved by duty and appropriateness had the ability to act like the glue that

held the Newland/Archer family together for a lifetime of children, and a lifetime of existence within a society that would not have accepted it any other way. Until the day before she died, May Welland/Archer acted in accordance with the unspoken rules of society in order to protect herself, her family, her marriage, and even the social structure itself, the very structure which forced her into accepting what life had given her long ago, and had taught her to learn to accept it. Wharton, Edith. The Age of Innocence. Macmillan Publishing Company, New York: 1920.