Edith Wharton Essays

12th Grade

The Age of Innocence

“It’s worth everything, isn’t it, to keep one’s intellectual liberty, not to enslave one’s powers of appreciation, one’s critical independence?” (164). Questioning the concepts of true freedom and liberty, the overall theme presented throughout...

College

The Age of Innocence

In The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton paints an intimate view of New York culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Wharton does this by masterfully presenting a slice of New York, focusing on a few intricately developed...

The Age of Innocence

New York Society, in Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence (1920), is paradoxically immortal and mortal. Like the Olympic pantheon of mythological Greek antiquity, New York Society cavorts and carouses, bickers and condemns while it feasts on ambrosia...

The Age of Innocence

It has been said that the true power of beauty is felt most deeply by those who have caught but a glimpse of its potential; those able to see its ethereal quality without demanding more. Perhaps, some have said, the fragility of aesthetic beauty...

The Age of Innocence

“Ah, don’t say that. If you knew how I hate to be different!” (Wharton 69). Ellen Olenska in Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence is, to Newland Archer, the perfect example of an exciting rebel to the mores of society in the New York aristocracy. He...

12th Grade

The Age of Innocence

Newland Archer is not only a well-read intellect, but an introspective thinker who deeply considers his own life. One concept that Newland consistently struggles with is his understanding of “reality”, and a major journey exposed through Wharton’s...

College

The Age of Innocence

Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence [1] and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple [2] both paint a portrait American culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This culture appears to be male, with no room for the female as any...

College

Ethan Frome

In order for a successful society and government, true emotions and feelings must be expressed at the essential times. Manipulation is constantly used worldwide in areas such as advertisements to movies. They act as unfair persuaders to make a...

Ethan Frome

It is under the most repressive limitations that the strength of one's character and one's ability to defy and transcend such limits can truly be measured. This idea is confirmed in Edith Wharton's novel, Ethan Frome, the story of a young man...

Ethan Frome

Typically one of the subtler parts of a novel, setting usually serves as a frame that supports the plot and characters. In Ethan Frome, however, Edith Wharton reinvents the use of setting as an integral element of the story. She weaves the...

11th Grade

Ethan Frome

Although by definition, a classic tragedy takes place when a character’s downfall is the direct consequence of a personality flaw, Edith Wharton’s novella Ethan Frome rejects this concept. As a story written by an author schooled in naturalistic...

College

House of Mirth

In The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton uses weather in a variety of ways that provide symbolic significance along with a vivid setting. Wharton uses weather, climate, and the change of seasons to foreshadow events in the immediate future and to...