Essay on Sense of Innocence, Sensibility of Reality, Masks of Society

Essay on Sense of Innocence, Sensibility of Reality, Masks of Society

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Both Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence and Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility deal with expectations in society with respect to relationships and suitable decorum. Both texts are especially concerned with the women during the time and how they should appear and behave in society. Although the two societies are exceedingly different, they still have similar strict codes. Society causes women to struggle between desires and opinions, and to find a balance between reason and emotion. Each character has to face hardships in order to find happiness with loved ones through the burden of society eying their every move.
Austen’s Sense and Sensibility and Wharton's The Age of Innocence are set in two exceptionally times and places, but their societies mirror each other. Austen's first published novel was originally titled Elinor and Marianne, written in the 1700's. She published under a fictitious name, "A Lady," never attaining much fame in order to keep her privacy and deal with society's association of writing with a shameful loss of femininity. Permitting us to learn about the character’s path and misfortunes (more closely with romantic relationship), as well as the importance of family life and reputation, set in England during the early nineteenth century, awards the reader with a glance into the restricted daily lives of women.
On the other hand, The Age of Innocence is set in Old New York in the 1870's, a time when society requires all members to live by the expectations and rules; any individual who disobey would be "punished." With these strong morals running through everyone's blood, as if these prospects have become a part of them, it is the characteristic that leads into the meaning behind the title of The Age of In...


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"Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility." Shmoop: Homework Help, Teacher Resources, Test Prep. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2011.
Nevius, Blake. "On The Age of Innocence." Edith Wharton, a collection of critical essays.. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1962. 155-161. Print.
Reinstein, P. Gila. “Moral Priorities in Sense and Sensibility.” Renascence 35.4 (Summer 1983): 269-283. Rpt. In Novels for Students. Ed. David A. Galens. Vol. 18. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Literature Resource Center. Web. 17 Mar.2011.
Wershoven, Carol. "Old New York and the Valley of Childish Things: The Age of Innocence."The female intruder in the novels of Edith Wharton . Rutherford [N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press ;, 1982. 75-93. Print.

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