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The Age of Innocence

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While reading the book “The Age of Innocence” there was particularly one character that I paid close attention to and whom I believe is the most important throughout the entire story; That character being Newland Archer. His actions played a major role on my reading of this book and witnessing the way treated his wife in the story. His actions can show readers who may be going through the same emotions Newland felt when he was basically in love with two women and ended up becoming torn with came to either staying faithful with his wife or backstabbing his family. Throughout the story you get to see Newland’s growth and the decision he ended up making when it came to these two women in his life.

        Newland Archer played a major role in this story in my opinion, and I believe that his character is the most important in my case. In the beginning of the story, you get to see how much Newland admired his new fiancé while in a theater in New York. He even thought about being married to May; Also, he even admired May’s grandmother. In the book, the author includes “He knew, of course, that whatever man dared that old Mrs. Manson Mingott, the Matriarch of the line, would dare. He had always the high and mighty old lady,” (Page 7) Readers in the beginning get to see how he feels towards May’s family and just how much he adores them. As you read more into the story, May’s cousin comes onto the scene newly divorced, and from there everything changes about Mr. Archer. With Archer in shock that May’s cousin Countess has returned to New York after moving away many years back, rumors start spreading about Countess leaving her unfaithful husband after the two being married for many years. Archer defends her when everyone else thinks that she should’ve stayed with her unfaithful husband and even questions the double standards between women leaving unfaithful men. Countess begins to build a close friendship with Archer, as you read on Archer begins to question whether or not he wants to get married.

        Mr. Archer contributes to this text as a whole because not only is this book about him, readers get to also see how caring he is towards the people he cares about; Whether it’s his wife, Countess, or even Mrs. Manson Mingott. Readers may consider him to be a “protagonist” because of him being in love with other women that’s not his wife. Although his intentions to me, seemed to be pure, that still doesn’t justify the thought of him being unfaithful to his wife. Also, readers may question his character as to why he wanted to shorten the engagement with May and rush the marriage. When in reality he doesn’t know for sure if he wanted to get married himself. 

        As you keep reading the story, you notice a change within his character. May finds out about Archer’s former mistress and what’s him to reconsider their engagement because he lied about the former mistress. All of a sudden, we’re getting to a point in the story where the truth is coming out; Most of the things Archer has done is now coming to light and that leaves May in a place where she doesn’t know whether or not she wants to get married to him. His actions aren’t the same as they were in the beginning of the story. A change within him has shifted to someone that May doesn’t know and that leaves her in a weird place. Archer has to now decide whether or not he wants to save his engagement or be with May’s cousin.

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