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Yes, both are good persons with many amiable qualities, but they simply are not exceptional. They were clearly not in love, just following rituals that defined that a young man should marry a nice girl with a good family. What could he and she really know of each other, since it was his duty, as a "decent" fellow, to conceal his past from her, and hers, as a marriageable girl, to have no past to conceal? If Newland Archer seems indecisive and hesitant, it's in part because he is conflicted with his values and desires.

No, he felt as old Sillerton Jackson felt; he did not think the Mingotts would have tried it on! Could he have been more traditional?

Nevertheless, Newland's careful and predictable world is flipped completely upside down when he meets and really gets to know the intriguing and intrepid Countess Olenska. As the plot moves on, we discovered all is not as we first envisioned. Newland is changing as he falls deeper in love with Ellen. He soon starts to show signs of rebelling against his previous ideals, begins transforming himself.

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I wonder what her fate will be? He is not courageous enough? Absent—that was what he was: so absent from everything most densely real and near to those about him that it sometimes startled him to find they still imagined he was there. He had meant to have a word alone with Madame Olenska, and failing that, to learn from her grandmother on what day, and by which train, she was returning to Washington.

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In that train he intended to join her, and travel with her to Washington, or as much farther as she was willing to go. His own fancy inclined to Japan. Probably even more than him, since it seems she had no choice: "Oh, I know—I know! But on condition that they don't hear anything unpleasant. Aunt Welland put it in those very words when I tried Does no one want to know the truth here, Mr.

The real loneliness is living among all these kind people who only ask one to pretend!

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We also soon discover that May is not so innocent. Although all her fight seems to be enforced to defend her marriage, its survival, and in that she would never change. What she learned with her mother she would repeat in her marriage 'Now she was simply ripening into a copy of her mother, and mysteriously, by the very process, trying to turn him into a Mr. No, she was never weak just limited.

He tells May he needs to get away, but she was ahead of him. To give up law? Do what he would, the chord of eagerness vibrated. Where, for instance? India — or Japan. What I concluded is that Newland might be rebellious while May is until the end tradition itself. Her incapacity to recognize change made her children conceal their views from her as Archer concealed his; there had been, from the first, a joint pretense of sameness, a kind of innocent family hypocrisy, in which father and children had unconsciously collaborated.

Not that it was easier for him, for he struggles between social conformity and honesty to one's emotions. And not that May would want to change. She was set on her role without any uncertainty. And often we see him contradict himself. Not at their time.

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To apart mean a return to their old respective life patterns, but to be together would mean going against what they both loved the most in the other. I can't love you unless I give you up. Being together would mean breaking too many rules, hurting loved ones, and carrying a guilt that would ultimately separate them if not physically for certain emotionally. That was what I'd never known before—and it's better than anything I've known. I'd say this is the strong and beautiful point of this classic.

The idea that he could ever, in his senses, have dreamed of marrying Countess Olenska had become almost unthinkable, and she remained in his memory simply as the most plaintive and poignant of a line of ghosts. Even more heartfelt: The long was with him day and night, an incessant undeniable craving, like the sudden whim of a sick man for food or drink once tasted and long since forgotten. The characters are forced to adjust and readjust to their changing life, but that is still not enough.

At least it was not in their lifetime. The changes they go through are not deep enough to allow them a happy ever after.


How painful to live through this changing times; and how dreadful to accept their fate. I can just imagine and suffer for them, and weep for them. Here lies the greatness of The Age of Innocence. Their fate was to be apart, and so nothing rests for them but to keep their memories intact.

It's what we lost and our memories that stay with us. If he had gone up to meet her, it would be another story. So I weep again for them. It made it me think that it had to be. They were set on their way before Ellen arrived and Newland and Amy made public their engagement. And I believe it had to end as it did.

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Suddenly, I discovered it deserved 5 full stars. I loved how it analyzed his marriage with May, the old costumes that are no more. That hypocritical society that held him down is finally fading. But too late for Ellen and Newland. Well, it is all still too new to me, and the only thing I can say is that it touched me deeply. Maybe more because of my age, since I know enough of life and remember all that I lost and could never simply be revisited. There is nothing more heartbreaking than unrequited love. So I weep for them. View all 36 comments.

Apr 10, Henry Avila rated it really liked it. Appearances can be deceiving as this superb classic novel reveals Newland Archer has the perfect life rich young and good looking, a member in excellent standing of New York's High Society of during the Golden Age. These people feel not like prisoners, but brave members of a group keeping back the barbarians at the gate. Newland is engaged to a beautiful charming girl May Welland also in the exclusive association, who loves him. But then her mysterious cousin arrives from Europe, Countess Appearances can be deceiving as this superb classic novel reveals But then her mysterious cousin arrives from Europe, Countess Ellen Olenska married to a brute a Polish nobleman who repeatedly degrades her, showing contempt for their marriage by parading lowly women in front of the Countess.

Not trying to hide his transgressions, letting the world know it. The fleeing woman is a childhood playmate of Mr. Archer, and he can still remember her as she, he. First seeing the fugitive again at the Opera, with his future bride and family in their box.

May loves her cousin and Ellen, loves May The Countess causes quite a stir with the audience, men look approvingly at the attractive lady, women more critical. Poor Ellen as the relatives call her, living with an unconventional grandmother Mrs. Manson Mingott so obese she needs help to get up, nevertheless the lady is the head of the family and people listen to, even though she has strange ways then again very rich but There is an unstated powerful attraction between Archer and Ellen, still duty prevents anything unsavory from happening besides Newland, believes in the proper way of doing things.

A self described dilettante who goes through the motions of being a lawyer, in an office where he has little to do. Archer lives with his widowed mother Mrs. Adeline Archer, she is forever saying that everything is changing for the worse in the city and spinster sister Janey, they look so alike the two could be sisters, both depend on each other for companionship. He's a secret fanatic a bookworm receiving the latest editions from London, staying in a room reading that's when the gentleman is happy.

Archer has no close friends the only person he can feel comfortable with, be himself is Ned Winsett a penniless struggling journalist, but of the lower class with a sick wife. Newland wants his wedding to happen earlier than is the established custom, hoping temptations will end if he is married to May.

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Even traveling to St. Augustine, Florida, on a surprise visit, where May is vacationing with her family for that purpose, his boss is not elated. Archer is wrong , clearly the gentleman loves the Countess and she returns the sentiment. Boorish banker Julius Beaufort vastly wealthy, an uncouth foreigner married to an influential and quite proper lady a New York society woman with a propensity to break all the rules, is chasing the skittish Ellen she needs to get away.