The Age of Innocence Quotes Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in The Age of Innocence Quotes Deck (5)
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Newland Archer

Winsett (journalist): "[…] But you're in a pitiful little minority; you've got no center, no competition, no audience. You're like the pictures on the walls of a deserted house: 'The Portrait of a Gentleman.'"

“Archer, when the afternoon's round was over, parted from his betrothed with the feeling that he had been shown off like a wild animal cunningly trapped.”

"I want— I want somehow to get away with you into a world where words like that— categories like that— won't exist. Where we shall be simply two human beings who love each other, who are the whole of life to each other; and nothing else on earth will matter."

“Looking about him, he honored his own past, and mourned for it. After all, there was good in the old ways.”


Ellen Olenska

"Isn't it you who made me give up divorcing— give it up because you showed me how selfish and wicked it was, how one must sacrifice one's self to preserve the dignity of marriage … and to spare one's family the publicity, the scandal?”

“The real loneliness is living among all these kind people who only ask one to pretend!"

“When he thought of Ellen Olenska it was abstractly, serenely, as one might think of some imaginary beloved in a book or a picture: she had become the composite vision of all that he had missed.”

"I mean: how shall I explain? I— it's always so. Each time you happen to me all over again."


May Welland

“But they did not look like her — there was something too rich, too strong, in their fiery beauty.”

"You mustn't think that a girl knows as little as her parents imagine. One hears and one notices— one has one's feelings and ideas."

“her look of indestructible youthfulness made her seem neither hard nor dull, but only primitive and pure.”

About her pregnancy: “I wasn’t sure then, but I told her [Ellen] I was.”


Mrs Mingott

“But this behest of old Mrs. Mingott's roused him to a sense of what the clan thought they had the right to exact from a prospective son-in-law; and he chafed at the role.”

“He saw that Mrs Welland and her sister-in-law were facing their semi-circle critics with the Mingottian aplomb which old Catherine had inculcated in all her tribe”



"The individual, in such cases, is nearly always sacrificed to what is supposed to the collective interest: people cling to any convention that keeps the family together"

May’s dinner for Ellen after negotiating her return to Europe: “There were certain things that had to be done, and if done at all, done handsomely and thoroughly; and one of these […] was the tribal rally around a kinswoman about to be eliminated from the tribe.”