The Sane Society

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...

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