Technically, Ellen Olenska has full rights to pursue a divorce, but Mr. Letterblair urges Newland to make her reconsider. What is his main reason for advising against a divorce, and what does it show about New York society?
Ellen's husband, Count Olenski, was clearly cruel to her and carried on many affairs with prostitutes, but since Ellen escaped the marriage with the help of a male secretary, the Count could make salacious accusations against her. Mr. Letterblair implies that, even if Ellen is innocent, she could not escape the damage of the gossip. Avoiding gossip, therefore, is more important than Ellen's desire to regain her freedom. This makes Newland realize that...
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