America's Favorite Novels

The two books by Wharton, The House of Mirth and the Age of Innocence put across the themes of class and gender. Several writers have been impressed by the work in the two books that we discussed in this session. The two-course paragraphs describe events in the books, and this essay serves to describe how the aspects of social class are put in Wharton`s two novels and basically how the characters in the two novels illustrate the themes of social class, race, and regional variability of norms.

The most dominant themes include racism, social class, and the theme of love and relationships among people in different societies. Racism, social class, and regional or cultural variability are the common aspects in most American societies even today.

For instance, the house of mirth emerges as one of America`s favorite novels. The events in the story talk about a fashionable New York. She refers to New York as a world she had been steeped in since infancy.

This brought Edith Wharton immediate success and recognition according to the novel, The House of Mirth. The main goal in the house of mirth is definitely to unveil the true nature of the society`s power and also answer the question; ‘ In what aspect could a society of irresponsible pleasure-seekers be said to have, on the old woe of the world, any deeper meaning bearing that, the people composing such a society could guess?’ The house of mirth talks of the changing fashions and the economics, where the old New York society is forced to recognize the power of new money and also to accept the newly rich, staggering with their tremendous wealth in a suspicious marketplace.

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The House of mirth describes this scenario as a form of sacrifice to the members of the old society of New York. Lily Bart, the main character and the heroine of the house of entertainment, is a victim of the massive, unstoppable shift in the ways of the world. Character Lily sees a world of unlimited possibilities before her.

Similarly, in the Age of innocence, which was acclaimed as one of the best novels of the twentieth century, several events arise. For instance, when Countess Ellen Olenska returns from Europe, fleeing her brutish husband, her rebellious independence and passionate awareness of life stir the educated sensitivity of Newland Archer, a man already engaged to her cousin May Welland. This brings about the concept of relationships and weaknesses in society since the two relatives are involved in a sexual relationship. Wharton uses her sharp criticism, wit, and mastery form to explore themes of responsibility, freedom, passion, and tradition. The novel brings out a picture of men and women caught in a society that denies humanity while desperately depending on civilization.

The common aspects described in the two novels include the element of social class and social behavior. Social behavior is a very key aspect of any community. The novels have described the impacts of social interactions in different forms of societies. Several characters with different lifestyles have also been discussed in the collection of course texts we discussed. The theme of social class refers to differences that exist in a closed society like the New York society. Racism, love, and friendship have also been widely discussed in Wharton`s two books.

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America's Favorite Novels. (2022, May 08). Retrieved from

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