The Age of Innocence

An Ongoing Tug of War in Wharton and Fromm College

Erich Fromm’s The Sane Society and Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence both display individuals ripped away from society by its judgment due to personal disagreements with social norms. The condemnation commences a battle between holding on to one’s rootedness as well as keeping self-identity in sight. Just as Fromm suggests that vices and virtues are subjective, Newland Archer and Madam Olenska struggle with the morality of choosing in favor of themselves or appeasing society as they hide their love to protect each other, and maintain the façade that is their lives.

The Sane Society emphasizes that society is divided by contrasting mindsets and minorities are often cast aside due to their unconventional perspectives. Many are segregated for not following standards determined by the current masses and the masses before them, which is a conflict concerning Fromm’s terms of rootedness and self-identity. Fromm describes rootedness as “natural ties”, and that without them, man “could not bear the isolation” (Fromm 38). Originally, he refers to a mother figure or place of origin, which encompasses Mother Nature and even one’s mother country. This can also include close ties to one’s immediate environment, as well as essentially earning...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1621 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 10724 literature essays, 2693 sample college application essays, 624 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in