The Age of Innocence Chapter 9 (2023)

THE COUNTESS OLENSKA HAD said “after five”; and at half after the hour Newland Archer rang the bell of the peeling stucco house with a giant wistaria throttling its feeble cast-iron balcony, which she had hired, far down West Twenty-third Street, from the vagabond Medora.

It was certainly a strange quarter to have settled in. Small dressmakers, bird-stuffers and “people who wrote” were her nearest neighbors; and farther down the disheveled street Archer recognized a dilapidated wooden house, at the end of a paved path, in which a writer and journalist called Winsett, whom he used to come across now and then, had mentioned that he lived. Winsett did not invite people to his house; but he had once pointed it out to Archer in the course of a nocturnal stroll, and the latter had asked himself, with a little shiver, if the humanities were so meanly housed in other capitals.

Madame Olenska’s own dwelling was redeemed from the same appearance only by a little more paint about the window-frames; and as Archer mustered its modest front he said to himself that the Polish Count must have robbed her of her fortune as well as of her illusions.

The young man had spent an unsatisfactory day. He had lunched with the Wellands, hoping afterward to carry off May for a walk in the Park. He wanted to have her to himself, to tell her how enchanting she had looked the night before, and how proud he was of her, and to press her to hasten their marriage. But Mrs. Welland had firmly reminded him that the round of family visits was not half over, and, when he hinted at advancing the date of the wedding, had raised reproachful eyebrows and sighed out “Twelve dozen of everything—hand-embroidered—”

Packed in the family landau they rolled from one tribal doorstep to another, and Archer, when the afternoon’s round was over, parted from his betrothed with the feeling that he had been shown off like a wild animal cunningly trapped. He supposed that his readings in anthropology caused him to take such a coarse view of what was after all a simple and natural demonstration of family feeling; but when he remembered that the Wellands did not expect the wedding to take place till the following autumn, and pictured what his life would be till then, a dampness fell upon his spirit.

“Tomorrow,” Mrs. Welland called after him, “we’ll do the Chiverses and the Dallases”; and he perceived that she was going through their two families alphabetically, and that they were only in the first quarter of the alphabet.

He had meant to tell May of the Countess Olenska’s request—her command, rather—that he should call on her that afternoon; but in the brief moments when they were alone he had had more pressing things to say. Besides, it struck him as a little absurd to allude to the matter. He knew that May most particularly wanted him to be kind to her cousin; was it not that wish which had hastened the announcement of their engagement? It gave him an odd sensation to reflect that, but for the Countess’s arrival, he might have been, if not still a free man, at least a man less irrevocably pledged. But May had willed it so, and he felt himself somehow relieved of further responsibility—and therefore at liberty, if he chose, to call on her cousin without telling her.

As he stood on Madame Olenska’s threshold curiosity was his uppermost feeling. He was puzzled by the tone in which she had summoned him; he concluded that she was less simple than she seemed.

The door was opened by a swarthy foreign-looking maid, with a prominent bosom under a gay neckerchief, whom he vaguely fancied to be Sicilian. She welcomed him with all her white teeth, and answering his inquiries by a head-shake of incomprehension led him through the narrow hall into a low firelit drawing room. The room was empty, and she left him, for an appreciable time, to wonder whether she had gone to find her mistress, or whether she had not understood what he was there for, and thought it might be to wind the clocks—of which he perceived that the only visible specimen had stopped. He knew that the southern races communicated with each other in the language of pantomime, and was mortified to find her shrugs and smiles so unintelligible. At length she returned with a lamp; and Archer, having meanwhile put together a phrase out of Dante and Petrarch,q evoked the answer: “La signora è fuori; ma verrà subito”; which he took to mean: “She’s out—but you’ll soon see.”

What he saw meanwhile, with the help of the lamp, was the faded shadowy charm of a room unlike any room he had known. He knew that the Countess Olenska had brought some of her possessions with her—bits of wreckage, she called them—and these, he supposed, were represented by some small slender tables of dark wood, a delicate little Greek bronze on the chimney-piece, and a stretch of red damask nailed on the discolored wallpaper behind a couple of Italian-looking pictures in old frames.

Newland Archer prided himself on his knowledge of Italian art. His boyhood had been saturated with Ruskin, and he had read all the latest books: John Addington Symonds, Vernon Lee’s “Eu phorion,” the essays of P. G. Hamerton, and a wonderful new volume called “The Renaissance” by Walter Pater. He talked easily of Botticelli, and spoke of Fra Angelicor with a faint condescension. But these pictures bewildered him, for they were like nothing that he was accustomed to look at (and therefore able to see) when he traveled in Italy; and perhaps, also, his powers of observation were impaired by the oddness of finding himself in this strange empty house, where apparently no one expected him. He was sorry that he had not told May Welland of Countess Olenska’s request, and a little disturbed by the thought that his betrothed might come in to see her cousin. What would she think if she found him sitting there with the air of intimacy implied by waiting alone in the dusk at a lady’s fireside?

But since he had come he meant to wait; and he sank into a chair and stretched his feet to the logs.

It was odd to have summoned him in that way, and then forgotten him; but Archer felt more curious than mortified. The atmosphere of the room was so different from any he had ever breathed that self-consciousness vanished in the sense of adven ture. He had been before in drawing rooms hung with red damask, with pictures “of the Italian school”; what struck him was the way in which Medora Manson’s shabby hired house, with its blighted background of pampas grass and Rogerss statuettes, had, by a turn of the hand, and the skillful use of a few properties, been transformed into something intimate, “foreign,” subtly suggestive of old romantic scenes and sentiments. He tried to analyze the trick, to find a clue to it in the way the chairs and tables were grouped, in the fact that only two Jacqueminot roses (of which nobody ever bought less than a dozen) had been placed in the slender vase at his elbow, and in the vague pervading perfume that was not what one put on handkerchiefs, but rather like the scent of some far-off bazaar, a smell made up of Turkish coffee and ambergris and dried roses.

His mind wandered away to the question of what May’s drawing room would look like. He knew that Mr. Welland, who was behaving “very handsomely,” already had his eye on a newly built house in East Thirty-ninth Street. The neighborhood was thought remote, and the house was built in a ghastly greenish-yellow stone that the younger architects were beginning to employ as a protest against the brownstone of which the uniform hue coated New York like a cold chocolate sauce; but the plumbing was perfect. Archer would have liked to travel, to put off the housing question; but, though the Wellands approved of an extended European honeymoon (perhaps even a winter in Egypt), they were firm as to the need of a house for the returning couple. The young man felt that his fate was sealed: for the rest of his life he would go up every evening between the cast-iron railings of that greenish-yellow doorstep, and pass through a Pompeian vestibule into a hall with a wainscoting of varnished yellow wood. But beyond that his imagination could not travel. He knew the drawing room above had a bay window, but he could not fancy how May would deal with it. She submitted cheerfully to the purple satin and yellow tuftings of the Welland drawing room, to its sham Buhl tables and gilt vitrines full of modern Saxe. He saw no reason to suppose that she would want anything different in her own house; and his only comfort was to reflect that she would probably let him arrange his library as he pleased—which would be, of course, with “sincere” Eastlake furniture, and the plain new book-cases without glass doors.

The round-bosomed maid came in, drew the curtains, pushed back a log, and said consolingly: “Verrà—verrà.” “ When she had gone Archer stood up and began to wander about. Should he wait any longer? His position was becoming rather foolish. Perhaps he had misunderstood Madame Olenska—perhaps she had not invited him after all.

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Down the cobblestones of the quiet street came the ring of a stepper’s hoofs; they stopped before the house, and he caught the opening of a carriage door. Parting the curtains he looked out into the early dusk. A street-lamp faced him, and in its light he saw Julius Beaufort’s compact English brougham, drawn by a big roan, and the banker descending from it, and helping out Madame Olenska.

Beaufort stood, hat in hand, saying something which his companion seemed to negative; then they shook hands, and he jumped into his carriage while she mounted the steps.

When she entered the room she showed no surprise at seeing Archer there; surprise seemed the emotion that she was least addicted to.

“How do you like my funny house?” she asked. “To me it’s like heaven.”

As she spoke she untied her little velvet bonnet and tossing it away with her long cloak stood looking at him with meditative eyes.

“You’ve arranged it delightfully,” he rejoined, alive to the flatness of the words, but imprisoned in the conventional by his consuming desire to be simple and striking.

“Oh, it’s a poor little place. My relations despise it. But at any rate it’s less gloomy than the van der Luydens‘.”

The words gave him an electric shock, for few were the rebellious spirits who would have dared to call the stately home of the van der Luydens gloomy. Those privileged to enter it shivered there, and spoke of it as “handsome.” But suddenly he was glad that she had given voice to the general shiver.

“It’s delicious—what you’ve done here,” he repeated.

“I like the little house,” she admitted; “but I suppose what I like is the blessedness of its being here, in my own country and my own town; and then, of being alone in it.” She spoke so low that he hardly heard the last phrase; but in his awkwardness he took it up.

“You like so much to be alone?”

“Yes; as long as my friends keep me from feeling lonely.” She sat down near the fire, said, “Nastasia will bring the tea presently,” and signed to him to return to his armchair, adding: “I see you’ve already chosen your corner.”

Leaning back, she folded her arms behind her head, and looked at the fire under drooping lids.

“This is the hour I like best—don’t you?”

A proper sense of his dignity caused him to answer: “I was afraid you’d forgotten the hour. Beaufort must have been very engrossing.”

(Video) The Age of Innocence Chapter 9

She looked amused. “Why—have you waited long? Mr. Beaufort took me to see a number of houses—since it seems I’m not to be allowed to stay in this one.” She appeared to dismiss both Beaufort and himself from her mind, and went on: “I’ve never been in a city where there seems to be such a feeling against living in des quartiers excentriques. What does it matter where one lives? I’m told this street is respectable.”

“It’s not fashionable.”

“Fashionable! Do you all think so much of that? Why not make one’s own fashions? But I suppose I’ve lived too independently; at any rate, I want to do what you all do—I want to feel cared for and safe.”

He was touched, as he had been the evening before when she spoke of her need of guidance.

“That’s what your friends want to feel. New York’s an awfully safe place,” he added with a flash of sarcasm.

“Yes, isn’t it? One feels that,” she cried, missing the mockery. “Being here is like—like—being taken on a holiday when one has been a good little girl and done all one’s lessons.”

The analogy was well meant, but did not altogether please him. He did not mind being flippant about New York, but disliked to hear any one else take the same tone. He wondered if she did not begin to see what a powerful engine it was, and how nearly it had crushed her. The Lovell Mingotts’ dinner, patched up in extremis out of all sorts of social odds and ends, ought to have taught her the narrowness of her escape; but either she had been all along unaware of having skirted disaster, or else she had lost sight of it in the triumph of the van der Luyden evening. Archer inclined to the former theory; he fancied that her New York was still completely undifferentiated, and the conjecture nettled him.

“Last night,” he said, “New York laid itself out for you. The van der Luydens do nothing by halves.”

“No: how kind they are! It was such a nice party. Every one seems to have such an esteem for them.”

The terms were hardly adequate; she might have spoken in that way of a tea-party at the dear old Miss Lannings‘.

“The van der Luydens,” said Archer, feeling himself pompous as he spoke, “are the most powerful influence in New York society. Unfortunately—owing to her health—they receive very seldom.”

She unclasped her hands from behind her head, and looked at him meditatively.

“Isn’t that perhaps the reason?”

“The reason—?”

“For their great influence; that they make themselves so rare.”

(Video) The Age of Innocence Chapter 9

He colored a little, stared at her—and suddenly felt the penetration of the remark. At a stroke she had pricked the van der Luydens and they collapsed. He laughed, and sacrificed them.

Nastasia brought the tea, with handleless Japanese cups and little covered dishes, placing the tray on a low table.

“But you’ll explain these things to me—you’ll tell me all I ought to know,” Madame Olenska continued, leaning forward to hand him his cup.

“It’s you who are telling me; opening my eyes to things I’d looked at so long that I’d ceased to see them.”

She detached a small gold cigarette-case from one of her bracelets, held it out to him, and took a cigarette herself. On the chimney were long spills for lighting them.

“Ah, then we can both help each other. But I want help so much more. You must tell me just what to do.”

It was on the tip of his tongue to reply: “Don’t be seen driving about the streets with Beaufort—” but he was being too deeply drawn into the atmosphere of the room, which was her atmosphere, and to give advice of that sort would have been like telling someone who was bargaining for attar-of-roses in Samarkand that one should always be provided with arctics for a New York winter. New York seemed much farther off than Samarkand, and if they were indeed to help each other she was rendering what might prove the first of their mutual services by making him look at his native city objectively. Viewed thus, as through the wrong end of a telescope, it looked disconcertingly small and distant; but then from Samarkand it would.

A flame darted from the logs and she bent over the fire, stretching her thin hands so close to it that a faint halo shone about the oval nails. The light touched to russet the rings of dark hair escaping from her braids, and made her pale face paler.

“There are plenty of people to tell you what to do,” Archer rejoined, obscurely envious of them.

“Oh—all my aunts? And my dear old Granny?” She considered the idea impartially. “They’re all a little vexed with me for setting up for myself—poor Granny especially. She wanted to keep me with her; but I had to be free—” He was impressed by this light way of speaking of the formidable Catherine, and moved by the thought of what must have given Madame Olenska this thirst for even the loneliest kind of freedom. But the idea of Beaufort gnawed him.

“I think I understand how you feel,” he said. “Still, your family can advise you; explain differences; show you the way.”

She lifted her thin black eyebrows. “Is New York such a labyrinth? I thought it so straight up and down—like Fifth Avenue. And with all the cross streets numbered!” She seemed to guess his faint disapproval of this, and added with the rare smile that enchanted her whole face: “If you knew how I like it for just that—the straight-up-and-downness, and the big honest labels on everything!”

He saw his chance. “Everything may be labeled—but everybody is not.”

“Perhaps. I may simplify too much—but you’ll warn me if I do.” She turned from the fire to look at him. “There are only two people here who make me feel as if they understood what I mean and could explain things to me: you and Mr. Beaufort.”

Archer winced at the joining of the names, and then, with a quick readjustment, understood, sympathized and pitied. So close to the powers of evil she must have lived that she still breathed more freely in their air. But since she felt that he understood her also, his business would be to make her see Beaufort as he really was, with all he represented—and abhor it.

(Video) The Age of Innocence: Ch. 9-12

He answered gently: “I understand. But just at first don’t let go of your old friends’ hands: I mean the older women, your Granny Mingott, Mrs. Welland, Mrs. van der Luyden. They like and admire you—they want to help you.”

She shook her head and sighed. “Oh, I know—I know! But on condition that they don’t hear anything unpleasant. Aunt Welland put it in those very words when I tried ... Does no one want to know the truth here, Mr. Archer? The real loneliness is living among all these kind people who only ask one to pretend!” She lifted her hands to her face, and he saw her thin shoulders shaken by a sob.

“Madame Olenska!—Oh, don‘t, Ellen,” he cried, starting up and bending over her. He drew down one of her hands, clasping and chafing it like a child’s while he murmured reassuring words; but in a moment she freed herself, and looked up at him with wet lashes.

“Does no one cry here, either? I suppose there’s no need to, in heaven,” she said, straightening her loosened braids with a laugh, and bending over the tea-kettle. It was burned into his consciousness that he had called her “Ellen”—called her so twice; and that she had not noticed it. Far down the inverted telescope he saw the faint white figure of May Welland—in New York.

Suddenly Nastasia put her head in to say something in her rich Italian.

Madame Olenska, again with a hand at her hair, uttered an exclamation of assent—a flashing “Già—già”—and the Duke of St. Austrey entered, piloting a tremendous black-wigged and red-plumed lady in overflowing furs.

“My dear Countess, I’ve brought an old friend of mine to see you—Mrs. Struthers. She wasn’t asked to the party last night, and she wants to know you.”

The Duke beamed on the group, and Madame Olenska advanced with a murmur of welcome toward the queer couple. She seemed to have no idea how oddly matched they were, or what a liberty the Duke had taken in bringing his companion—and to do him justice, as Archer perceived, the Duke seemed as unaware of it himself.

“Of course I want to know you, my dear,” cried Mrs. Struthers in a round rolling voice that matched her bold feathers and her brazen wig. “I want to know everybody who’s young and interesting and charming. And the Duke tells me you like music—didn’t you, Duke? You’re a pianist yourself, I believe? Well, do you want to hear Sarasate play tomorrow evening at my house? You know I’ve something going on every Sunday evening—it’s the day when New York doesn’t know what to do with itself, and so I say to it: ‘Come and be amused.”’ And the Duke thought you’d be tempted by Sarasate. You’ll find a number of your friends.“

Madame Olenska’s face grew brilliant with pleasure. “How kind! How good of the Duke to think of me!” She pushed a chair up to the tea-table and Mrs. Struthers sank into it delectably. “Of course I shall be too happy to come.”

“That’s all right, my dear. And bring your young gentleman with you.” Mrs. Struthers extended a hail-fellow hand to Archer. “I can’t put a name to you-but I’m sure I’ve met you—I’ve met everybody, here, or in Paris or London. Aren’t you in diplomacy? All the diplomatists come to me. You like music too? Duke, you must be sure to bring him.”

The Duke said “Rather” from the depths of his beard, and Archer withdrew with a stiffly circular bow that made him feel as full of spine as a self-conscious school-boy among careless and un-noticing elders.

He was not sorry for the dénouement of his visit: he only wished it had come sooner, and spared him a certain waste of emotion. As he went out into the wintry night, New York again became vast and imminent, and May Welland the loveliest woman in it. He turned into his florist’s to send her the daily box of lilies-of-the-valley which, to his confusion, he found he had forgotten that morning.

As he wrote a word on his card and waited for an envelope he glanced about the embowered shop, and his eye lit on a cluster of yellow roses. He had never seen any as sun-golden before, and his first impulse was to send them to May instead of the lilies. But they did not look like her—there was something too rich, too strong, in their fiery beauty. In a sudden revulsion of mood, and almost without knowing what he did, he signed to the florist to lay the roses in another long box, and slipped his card into a second envelope, on which he wrote the name of the Countess Olenska; then, just as he was turning away, he drew the card out again, and left the empty envelope on the box.

“They’ll go at once?” he inquired, pointing to the roses.

(Video) Book1:Chapter9-The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton- Dramatic Reading -Full Audiobook- Award Winner

The florist assured him that they would.


Is The Age of Innocence an easy read? ›

The Age of Innocence felt like an American cousin to a Jane Austen novel. It's very easy to read. At first, there were a lot of names to keep straight, but the same crowd of characters remains throughout.

Who says the real loneliness is living among all these kind people who only ask one to pretend? ›

At one point, Ellen says to Archer, "the real loneliness is living among all these kind people who only ask one to pretend." An unwillingness to follow these restrictive standards is met with appeals to the collective good; and, if the troublesome individual fails to fall in line, eventually, the result is exile.

What is the message of the Age of Innocence? ›

One of the themes central to The Age of Innocence is the struggle between the individual and the group. Newland Archer has been raised into a world where manners and moral codes dictate how the individual will act, and in some cases, even think.

How does the Age of Innocence end? ›

The end of the novel finds Newland Archer nearly thirty years older. He's had a good life, done some good in the world, and is still living the life of a New York gentleman.

Can a 13 year old read and then there were none? ›

Parents Need to Know

The book was written for adults, but teens can learn a lot about the mystery genre from this master.

What is the youngest child to read? ›

3 years 8 months Aarav read all the nursery rhymes, books clearly and thus, made a new world record for International Book of Records.

What does loneliness suggest? ›

Some research suggests that loneliness is associated with an increased risk of certain mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, sleep problems and increased stress.

What is Steinbeck saying about loneliness? ›

Why can't I talk to you? I never get to talk to nobody. I get awful lonely” (Steinbeck 86). This quote accurately proves the fact that Curley's wife feels extremely lonely because of her limitation set by her husband when it comes to communication.

Who said alone but not lonely? ›

Quote by Haruki Murakami: “I'm all alone, but I'm not lonely.”

Why does he walk away at the end of The Age of Innocence? ›

He lived a life of “dull duty” instead of experiencing “the flower of life.” But that was okay, even good. In the end, the clan was more important for him than the woman. And, so, he walked away.

What is the main conflict in The Age of Innocence? ›

The protagonist Archer defends Ellen—who is a childhood friend and his fiancée's cousin. This turning point introduces both aspects of the main conflict—Archer's attachment to Ellen and society's resistance to her.

What is ironic about The Age of Innocence? ›

The Age of Innocence is a title both ironic and poignant: ironic because the “age” or period of the novel, the late nineteenth century, teems with intolerance, collusion, and cynicism; poignant because the only innocence lost is that of Newland Archer, the resolute gentleman whose insight into the machinations of ...

Who is the hero in The Age of Innocence? ›

Newland Archer is the hero of our tale, and the plot of the novel follows his journey from complacent young man of society to impassioned lover to resigned old age. Just based on how much of The Age of Innocence takes place in Newland's presence or even in his head, we know that he's the Main Man.

What happened to Countess olenska? ›

She married the fabulously wealthy Count Olenska, a Polish nobleman, at which point she should have lived happily ever after. But she did not— the Count turned out to be a boor, and rumor has it that she ran off with his secretary and lived with the secretary for a year before finding her way back to New York City.

What does May Welland represent? ›

Character Analysis May Welland Archer

When she first appears, she is the personification of innocence. She marries Newland and her slim intellectual abilities never vary, but her wisdom in manipulating Newland grows immensely.

How long should a 13 year old read per day? ›

While 15 to 20 minutes is the recommended amount of reading, it is important to note that, if your child is interested in and enjoying what she is reading, it is fine to encourage more time. However, we do not want children to become too tired.

Is it bad my 7 year old can't read? ›

Most kids learn to read between the ages of 4-7 and some do not until age 8. If kids don't learn to read in Kindergarten, they're not behind. They don't have a learning disability, although some may. They just may not be ready to or interested in reading yet.

Why did Agatha Christie not like Poirot? ›

By 1930, Agatha Christie found Poirot "insufferable", and by 1960 she felt that he was a "detestable, bombastic, tiresome, ego-centric little creep". Despite this, Poirot remained an exceedingly popular character with the general public.

What grade can most kids read? ›

Experts say that most children learn to read by age 6 or 7, meaning first or second grade, and that some learn much earlier. However, a head start on reading doesn't guarantee a child will stay ahead as they progress through school.

What reading age should a 12 year old have? ›

At this age, your preteen should be reading history and science books, exploring the world of research on the web — and using these sources for school assignments. She should feel confident using dictionaries, glossaries, and reading diagrams and charts.

Can you read to a 2 year old? ›

Reading to toddlers often (if possible, at least once a day) is a great goal. Choosing regular times to read (especially before naps and bedtime) helps kids learn to sit with a book and relax. But you can read anytime your child seems in the mood. If your toddler will let you, hold him or her in your lap when you read.

Which age group is most lonely? ›

Young adults averaged 47.87, while those 65 and older, often assumed to be the most at risk of loneliness, scored an average of 40—the lowest score of any generational group. Simply living through a transitional stage of life into adulthood in today's world can be a lonely experience.

Is loneliness equal to 15 cigarettes a day? ›

WASHINGTON (AP) — Widespread loneliness in the U.S. poses health risks as deadly as smoking up to 15 cigarettes daily, costing the health industry billions of dollars annually, the U.S. surgeon general said Tuesday in declaring the latest public health epidemic.

Is loneliness equivalent to 15 cigarettes a day? ›

Vivek Murthy, the United States surgeon general, recently warned that “being socially disconnected” has a similar effect on mortality as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. This statement was widely reported in the media, including in the Washington Post, the Times and the Daily Mail.

Why is Curley lonely? ›

As the only black man on the ranch, he is not allowed into the bunkhouse with the others, and he does not associate with them. He combats his loneliness with books and his work, but even he realizes that these things are no substitute for human companionship.

How did Steinbeck use the theme of loneliness to? ›

In Of Mice and Men, loneliness is a significant theme that is presented to the readers. Many of the characters are lonely and seek out true connections. Each character's loneliness teaches the readers about the importance of friendship and connections. George, Candy, Crooks, and Curley's wife all experience loneliness.

Why does George feel lonely? ›

George is lonely in Of Mice and Men because of his own discipline and his relationship with Lennie. He avoids fraternizing with the men on the ranch because he feels like he needs to focus on the task at hand: buying a farm. Anything else is a distraction.

Why do I always want to be alone but feel lonely? ›

You may be overwhelmed or overstimulated by the company of others. Being alone with your own thoughts, or doing activities that bring you a sense of physical or mental calmness, is how you refuel and feel like your best self.

How can I enjoy my life alone? ›

Short-term tips to get you started
  1. Avoid comparing yourself to others. ...
  2. Take a step back from social media. ...
  3. Take a phone break. ...
  4. Carve out time to let your mind wander. ...
  5. Take yourself on a date. ...
  6. Get physical. ...
  7. Spend time with nature. ...
  8. Lean into the perks of being alone.
Aug 23, 2019

What is a powerful quote about alone? ›

"It is far better to be alone than to wish you were." "My alone feels so good, I'll only have you if you're sweeter than my solitude." "I restore myself when I'm alone." "It's better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone—so far."

What is the symbolism in The Age of Innocence? ›

The prevalent symbol in The Age of Innocence is flowers. Wharton draws upon a rich, and largely forgotten, tradition of floral symbolism that goes well beyond roses representing love. Flowers, in the late 1800s, conveyed ideas that might be socially uncomfortable to voice.

Did Archer love May in The Age of Innocence? ›

The novel opens with his engagement to May Welland, whom he eventually marries, but he also falls in love with May's cousin, Ellen Olenska. Archer initially subscribes to the conventions of New York society without question; he has grown up with these conventions, and nobody respectable dares to flout them.

What does the theme lost innocence mean? ›

A "loss of innocence" is a common theme in fiction, pop culture, and realism. It is often seen as an integral part of coming of age. It is usually thought of as an experience or period in a person's life that leads to a greater awareness of evil, pain and/or suffering in the world around them.

Does The Age of Innocence have a happy ending? ›

By one metric, the fully realized novel is a tragic story of two people trying to surmount the obstacles to their love. But in another—and here I am going to diverge, perhaps perversely, from almost any reading of the novel I've ever encountered—the published novel does have a happy ending.

Who is the antagonist in The Age of Innocence? ›

The antagonist in Age of Innocence, written by Edith Wharton, is May Welland. May Welland is married to a wealthy young lawyer named Newland Archer, the novels' protagonist. Newland, though married to May, is in fact in love with May's cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska.

What happened to Beaufort in The Age of Innocence? ›

Due to shady business dealings, Beaufort's bank eventually collapses, causing many of society's families to lose money and thrusting him and his wife out of society.

Is The Age of Innocence a tragedy Why or why not? ›

Ultimately, the comfortable life that seemed to be Archer's dream when the novel opened swallows him up. And so, his life becomes a tragedy, albeit a comfortably outfitted tragedy. Though written in the third person, the POV of the novel is that of Archer himself.

Why was it titled The Age of Innocence? ›

Wharton presents New York in the 1870s as a society that ruthlessly keeps out anything new and different. That's what is meant by "innocence": the novel could have just as easily been titled The Age of Rejecting Change.

What is the corruption of innocence? ›

A new book by Lori St John, The Corruption of Innocence: A Journey to Justice, recounts the author's quest to save the life of Joseph O'Dell because of her strong belief in his innocence.

What does Ellen Olenska represent? ›

Countess Ellen Olenska represents the major female character in The Age of Innocence . She is considered a perfect example of women's agony. Wharton presents Ellen Olenska as the sophisticate, a woman who has been lived amid the aristocracy of Europe and has seen the different world.

What does Blake mean by innocence? ›

Through his language, Blake defines innocence as a state of naivety and ignorance. Furthermore, he uses his language to describe experience. His language choices create an image of experience as superiority and strength. The two images he uses to describe innocence and experience are a lamb and a tiger.

Who is Beaufort in Age of Innocence? ›

The Age of Innocence (1993) - Stuart Wilson as Julius Beaufort - IMDb.

What was in Count Olenski letter? ›

In reading the letters, Archer comes across a letter written by Count Olenski that he feels would be damaging to the Countess's reputation were it exposed. Wharton implies indirectly that this letter indicates that the Countess has had an illicit affair.

What is the message of The Age of Innocence? ›

One of the themes central to The Age of Innocence is the struggle between the individual and the group. Newland Archer has been raised into a world where manners and moral codes dictate how the individual will act, and in some cases, even think.

Does Netflix have The Age of Innocence? ›

Watch The Age of Innocence | Netflix.

Why does Newland love Ellen? ›

Ellen, the Countess Olenska, fulfills Newland's longing for an emotional fantasy life. Her words, her unconventional taste in clothing and interior decorating, and her attitudes symbolize the exotic to traditional Newland. She causes him to question his narrow existence and brings out his protective instincts.

Does Newland love May? ›

Newland Archer

The novel's protagonist. Archer is a wealthy young lawyer married to the beautiful debutante May Welland. He is in love, however, with May's cousin Countess Ellen Olenska, who represents to him the freedom missing from the suffocating environment of the New York aristocracy.

Did May know about Ellen and Archer? ›

After May's death, Newland Archer learns she had always known of his continued love for Ellen; as May lay dying, she told their son Dallas that the children could always trust their father, Newland, because he surrendered the thing most meaningful to him out of loyalty to their marriage.

What age is the book that no one wanted to read for? ›

About This Edition
Pagination:128 pages
Suitable For:9+ readers
Other Genres:Funny
5 more rows
Dec 5, 2022

Is The Age of Innocence a feminist book? ›

While The Age of Innocence is not overtly feminist, Wharton does an excellent job in expressing her own thoughts on the suffocating world of the upper class in the Gilded Age.

What is the appropriate age to read? ›

Experts say that most children learn to read by age 6 or 7, meaning first or second grade, and that some learn much earlier. However, a head start on reading doesn't guarantee a child will stay ahead as they progress through school.

What reading age is the school for good and evil? ›

This book has an amazing plot. It's very interesting, but has a little romance. Nothing more than kissing though. This is perfect for ages 12-16.

What age is the prettiest book for? ›

8 - 12 years

Can a 13 year old read me before you? ›

Me Before You is asad movie that touches on some serious themes, including the complex issue of euthanasia. There are also some sexual references and coarse language. The movie is more suitable for older teenagers and adults, and we don't recommend it for viewers under 14 years.

Why is it called Age of Innocence? ›

Critical Essays The Ironic Title of The Age of Innocence. The Age of Innocence is filled with irony about innocence — true innocence, feigned innocence, ironic innocence, and unhappy innocence. Wharton's life, the Gilded Age of the novel, and the characters all contribute to the irony of the novel's title.

Is there a movie The Age of Innocence? ›

The Age of Innocence was released theatrically on October 1, 1993, by Columbia Pictures. It received critical acclaim, winning the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, and being nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Winona Ryder), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Art Direction.

Why is The Age of Innocence ironic? ›

The Age of Innocence is a title both ironic and poignant: ironic because the “age” or period of the novel, the late nineteenth century, teems with intolerance, collusion, and cynicism; poignant because the only innocence lost is that of Newland Archer, the resolute gentleman whose insight into the machinations of ...

Can 20 year olds read ya? ›

Young adult fiction (YA) is fiction written for readers from 12 to 18 years of age. The term YA was first used regularly in the 1960s in America. The YA category includes most of the genres found in adult fiction, with themes that include friendship, sexuality, drugs and alcohol, and sexual and gender identity.

How often should a 13 year old read? ›

3. The majority of children don't spend enough time reading outside of school. According to teachers, students should be reading between 15 minutes and 1 hour a day outside of school (85% of teachers expect daily reading in this range), but most of their students are reading less than the 15-minute daily minimum.

At what age do you learn the fastest? ›

Two-year-olds have twice as many synapses as adults. Because these connections between brain cells are where learning occurs, twice as many synapses enable the brain to learn faster than at any other time of life.

What level of reading is Harry Potter? ›

The Harry Potter book series is Middle Grade, not YA (Young Adult). This means it is generally written for children ages 8-12 and grade levels 3-7.

What age is Percy Jackson appropriate for? ›

Common Sense Media (my go-to spot for judging what media is appropriate for what age of kids) rates the Percy Jackson books as for kids aged 9–10. I'd probably pull that down a year to ages 8–9, but either way much is lost in reading those books if you don't know the myths they are referencing.

Is the school for good a evil appropriate for 12 year old? ›

The School for Good and Evil is rated PG-13 for language, violence and action, and some frightening images which means some content may not be suitable for children under 13.


1. Chapter 9 - The Age of Innocence
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2. Chapter 9 - The Age of Innocence
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3. Book 1 - Chapter 9
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4. Chapter 9 - The Age of Innocence
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5. The Age of Innocence (FULL Audiobook)
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6. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
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