This list of 103 questions deals with characters, themes and events in Wharton's novel, The Age of Innocence.© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com October 10, 2019, 8:28 am ad1c9bdddf
1. Consider the title of the novel. Why do you think Wharton chose this title?
2. How is the performance of Faust significant?
3. Discuss Newland Archer's first appearance. How does Wharton portray him? What do you think of his character at this point in the novel? Does your opinion change? Why or why not?
4. Discuss May's first appearance.
5. What does Newland expect of his future wife?
6. Discuss Ellen's appearance at the opera. Why does it shock society?
7. Compare and contrast Ellen with her cousin.
8. How does Newland feel when he recognizes Ellen? How is their first meeting significant?
9. Why does Newland want to announce his engagement to May immediately?
10. What is mysterious about Mr. Beaufort?
11. Why does May wish Newland to tell Ellen about their engagement? How does Ellen react when told this news?
12. Discuss Mrs. Mingott's character. What makes her such a force in New York Society?
13. Why is Mr. Beaufort's presence disconcerting when he accompanies Ellen to her grandmother's?
14. How is what remains unsaid important in this novel?
15. Why is Ellen pitied and censured by New York society?
16. What makes Newland begin to champion Ellen?
17. Why is it conventional to ignore certain circumstances in the society in which Newland and his circle move?
18. What does Newland's reflection in his study say about the society in which he and his circle move? What does this reflection foreshadow?
19. How does society respond to the invitation to the dinner planned to welcome Ellen?
20. What does Mrs. Archer's visit to the Van Der Luydens produce?
21. Why does Newland refrain from telling May about his visit to Ellen after the Van Der Luydens' dinner?
22. Discuss Ellen's living situation. How is it unconventional?
22. What reason does Ellen give for her return to New York?
23. Why does Ellen ask advice of Newland? What makes her object to the help offered by the women of her family?
24. What does Mr. Letterblaire request of Newland? Why?
25. Why do the Mingotts and Mr. Letterblaire disapprove of Ellen's seeking a divorce from her husband?
26. Of what ...
In this list of discussion questions, I discuss themes, characters, events and details for the novel The Age of Innocence. These questions range from simple to complex.