The Age of Innocence Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 59 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Age of Innocence.
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The Age of Innocence is a detailed portrayal of social conventions and respectability in late nineteenth-century high society. Newland has grownup in this environment and has internalized all the manners that dictate behavior in old New York. Even intimate matters are subject to rules of etiquette, as when May lets Newland guess that she cares for him, which is the only declaration of love allowed a young unmarried woman. Gossiping is completely acceptable, yet members of society strive to uphold, above all things, their own reputations. Sillerton Jackson and Lawrence Lefferts are held up as experts on New York's family trees, proper form, and good taste.

Every event in old New York is subject to ritual. When May and Newland are engaged, they must make a series of social calls. On his wedding day, Newland wonders what flaws Lawrence Lefferts will find in the event. As...

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This section contains 1,297 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Age of Innocence Study Guide
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Novels for Students
The Age of Innocence from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.