Classics Without All the Class discussion

The Age of Innocence
This topic is about The Age of Innocence
Jan 2013 -The Age of Innocence > Character poll *might contain spoilers*

Comments Showing 1-22 of 22 (22 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Karena (karenafagan) Any favorite characters you've run across?

Katherine (madlibn) | 10 comments I think Countess Olenska is the closest to a "modern" woman in the book. I really identified with her. I don't know if I would have been so noble as to return to Europe to be away from Newland Archer.

message 3: by Leslie (last edited Jan 03, 2013 07:01PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Leslie | 5 comments I liked the descriptions of Archer's sister and mother and the comparisons to May's family. One favorite was when Archer knocked on Janey's door and she opened to greet him in a purple bathrobe!!! And curlers, I think!! Lol!

May's Granny Mingott, too. The whole discussion in the wedding chapter about how she almost found a way to fit the portable chair inside the church (except the iron columns) and how everyone breathed a sigh of relief over the fact that she was not going to be there, because it saved the family from her unseemly exposure. And, speaking of unseemly, they could NOT bear the though of having the ceremony out where Granny could be included... That the newspaper people might take May's PICTURE and put it in the papers for all to see!!! LOL!

message 4: by Tee (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tee I really adore Granny Mingott. What a spitfire!

Travis (travistousant) I like Archer and the Countess. I don't think the Countess doesn't understand society. I think she understands it better than the rest and chooses to be non conformist because she finds them rediculoous with their society labeling and rules and walking around with their nose in the air and a stick in the bum. Both Archer and the Countess seem like they could be modern day people to me

Kevin Alleger | 9 comments I like Archer the best. He has the real nerve to question the norms of his society. He yearns for the Countess and the freedom she represents. No other character has this much complexity. (I'm just to the part that Archer learns the tribe has cast him out of any decisions regarding the Countess returning to Europe.)

I like the Countess, too, but I feel she is mostly, like the New York society, a product of her European environment. I do admire her independence as a woman, and yet this was not brought on by any necessarily 'conscious' decision on her part.

Shannon Marie (CrochetQueen8307) I'm having a little trouble making it through this book. I haven't had the time to dedicate to it, and in all honesty, it's a little boring.
Though, I think at this point, one of the characters I can relate to more than any of the others is, Countess Olenska. She seems more like a modern woman to me, bucking tradition and such. For the most part she doesn't seem to care what other people think, especially when she wanted to sue for divorce. I can kind of relate to being a black sheep.
I do like Archer but, he sometimes seems a little contradictory to me. He says these things, that I guess back in the day, could have been considered radical. Though he doesn't seem to act on them.
I am only on Chapter 14 or 15, so this is all subject to change lol.

Margaret I haven't come to really like anyone yet. (I'm on around chapter 15.) I feel sorry for Archer, and a little bit for May because (having read the blurb) I don't think she's in for much happiness. Archer seems to be on a self-destructive path; I don't think he knows it yet (based on where I am in the reading).

But I don't really like anyone. I do like the book! The writing is very luxurious.

message 9: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura Sultan (paramaya) Granny Mingott is about the only character who I find likeable. I want to like the Countess Olenska because I understand her, but I can't. She reminds me too much of Holly Golightly. I think Newland Archer is a stupid man.

message 10: by Harriet (last edited Jan 09, 2013 02:00PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Harriet (ithasturnedherbrain) | 5 comments I started off liking Newland Archer and Ellen Olenska, but found them progressively more grating the further I read. I think May Welland suffers because we only ever see her through Archer's eyes. This is a woman who supports her husband, only to be condemned by him for it. I do really like Granny Mingott though, she's a breath of fresh air in what can at times be a very stifling atmosphere.

Beth (bibliobeth) | 36 comments Same as most people, I thought Granny Mingott was hilarious and she seemed to be able to poke fun at herself (and her constantly mentioned "bulk")

Crystal (infiniteink) | 87 comments I liked Newland and Ellen the best.

I favor Newland because I find his complexity alluring. I love how he questions the society he's been raised to revere in one passage, and then seems to be its utmost supporter in the next. Moreover, I like how romantic and somewhat rebellious he is.

He truly wants his wife to be his best friend, his equal in thought and conversation, and not just someone to dote upon him and serve him. Yet, even though he quite naturally falls in love with Ellen, he still puts May's needs (and their child's) above his own desires. I find him honorable and fully human.

Ellen I admire because she is her own woman, but she doesn't flaunt it. Yes, she puts her nose up at New York's rules over who she should and shouldn't find a friend in, but she has great respect for its more important morals, which is what leads her to ultimately denying Archer. I like that she is confident enough in herself to fellowship with Mrs. Struthers and the dethroned Mrs. Beaufort, but also not selfish enough to steal a woman's husband.

message 13: by Margaret (last edited Jan 11, 2013 03:07PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Margaret I'm not quite finished, but I am liking almost everyone less and less, except for Catherine Mingott. I don't feel sorry for Newland Archer anymore! From chapter 31, about marital infidelity:

"But in Archer's little world no one laughed at a wife deceived, and a certain measure of contempt was attached to men who continued their philandering after marriage. In the rotation of crops there was a recognised season for wild oats; but they were not to be sown more than once.

Archer had always shared this view: in his heart he thought Lefferts despicable. But to love Ellen Olenska was not to become a man like Lefferts: for the first time Archer found himself face to face with the dread argument of the individual case. Ellen Olenska was like no other woman, he was like no other man: their situation, therefore, resembled no one else's, and they were answerable to no tribunal but that of their own judgment."

This is where Newland loses me. "Oh, I'm not like him. Ellen and I are different." That kind of rationalizing bad behavior is so... weak.

Grandpa Jud (grandpajud) | 42 comments I like May Archer. She's exceptionally pretty - we're repeatedly told - and gifted athletically. She's a loving wife, totally devoted to her husband, and she faithfully honors the values of her parents and the society in which she was raised and of which she is a part. Newland doesn't fully appreciate what a gem he has in her. Newland thinks she is unable to rise above the restraints imposed by this society. How hard has he tried to find out?

message 15: by Grandpa Jud (last edited Jan 12, 2013 10:53PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Grandpa Jud (grandpajud) | 42 comments In addition to liking May Archer (see message 14) I also certainly like Ellen Olenska. Ellen is a victim of societal norms, and perhaps because of this, Ellen has very clear vision and sees things for what they are. Plus she has such class - she will not hurt those close to her in the selfish pursuit and gratification of her own inward desires. What's not to admire?

Newland Archer is a different story. While not adequately appreciating his wife (see message 14), Newland is too much taken with a woman that time and circumstance simply haven't allowed him to get to know all that well. Exactly how much time does he spend with that other woman? Not all that much.

Sullivan I completely agree with Laura (message 9)-- exactly everything she said!

Angie Downs Catherine Mingott!

Michael Colwin | 18 comments I'm curious about those who liked May. She's the closest thing to a villain in the thing and she pretty much gets everything she wants.
Just because Newland doesn't see her for what she is doesn't make me feel any more sympathetic towards her.

I guess I liked Catherine.

Grandpa Jud (grandpajud) | 42 comments In reply to Michael (message 18), - THIS MESSAGE DEFINITELY CONTAINS SPOILERS - May is always loving and attentive towards Newland. She loved him so I don't blame her for wanting to hold onto him. Further, although we're not told much of their many years together - other than that they raised several children together - my read on it is that their children were a blessing to them both and that Newland found that the "safe" life he lived was not disagreeable to him even though, at least in his youth, he had yearnings for the more free-spirited and adventurous life he might have enjoyed with Ellen.

Michelle Burton (goneabroad71) | 43 comments I'm torn on whether I like May or not. She was certainly willing to fight for what was hers, and she did seem to get her way all of the time. She represents for me tradition and stability -- which are good things, but can be tyrannical when taken to excees. Newland often mentions that she lacks intellectual curiosity, and I think that, while clever (manipulative?) in a certain way, and devoted, she probably does have intellectual limitations.

I liked Archer a lot. I don't necessarily trust his views of other characters, and I think he can be overly judgemental. But he is a three dimensional human struggling to balance his desires with his sense of duty.

Amanda (blaircaldwell86) I always enjoyed scenes with Granny Mingott.

Alana (alanasbooks) | 208 comments Leslie wrote: "I liked the descriptions of Archer's sister and mother and the comparisons to May's family. One favorite was when Archer knocked on Janey's door and she opened to greet him in a purple bathrobe!!!..."

I have to agree with this, I found all of the scenes with her quite amusing :)

back to top