He questioned conformity in private, but in public he upheld family and tradition.
Slowly Newland becomes more dissatisfied with the narrow-minded pursuits of his world.
Newland prefers to internalize his problems instead of resolving them externally.
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HENRY VAN DER LUYDEN: ..long as a member of a well-known family is backed by that family, it should be considered final. Mingott’s house, he discreetly crosses the street thinking that they are lovers stealing a moment alone.
[...] we are giving a little dinner for our cousin the Duke of St. I’m sure Louisa will be as glad as I am if Countess Olenska will let us include her among our guests. Newland realizes how it looks and knows why Larry crosses the street: “It was the kind of masculine solidarity that he himself had practiced; now he sickened at their connivance.” (Wharton, p.
May Welland adheres to every convention a proper young woman should to be accepted by her peers.
Newland Archer is everything expected of a cultured gentleman: he practices law, travels Europe, collects books, belongs to a men’s club, is engaged to a prominent woman of his own class.
And Larry Lefferts and Gertrude were engaged for two. May Welland anticipates marrying Newland and leading a happy life with him.
Newland comes to believe that May will never grows as a person, and their marriage will be all too conventional and boring. Mingott urges May and her mother to move the engagement up, as she envisions: MRS.
When he realizes at the opera that May and her family support Ellen, he immediately goes to the box and suggests announcing his and May’s engagement that very evening to add his family’s support as well; when Mrs.
Mingott’s dinner invitations are turned down, he goes to the van der Luydens and convinces them to support Ellen; after Newland learns that Ellen is visiting nearby in Portsmouth, he immediately voices a plan to buy a new horse so that he can travel to see Ellen; he then tracks her down and finds her in Boston.
The story is moved along by decisions: Ellen decides to leave her unfaithful husband and return to New York, which leads to her being snubbed; Mrs.