Эссе: Archer in The Age of Innocence Essay


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Английский язык
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Эссе
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... It is through this final action that Archer is portrayed as an idealist: a man with a blue-print image of the perfect life and the determination to model his own from it as accurately as possible. Archer strongly values whatever power he has in building his ideal image of life.  Wharton introduces the reader to such values from early on in the text.  While he sits in the opera house admiring May, his soon-to-be wife, he prides himself on having taken successful measures towards shaping his future.  Wharton enhances this exhilarating sense of control that Archer acquires on choosing his bride.  This "thrill of possessorship" which leads to "pride in his masculinity"(6) is clearly an essential presence in Archer's life as it allows him to convince himself of being in command over his destiny.  Throughout the book, May represents an element of control in Archer's life whereas Ellen is the embodiment of caprice.  While Archer can take an active role by marrying May, he must allow Ellen to slip in and out of his life as an act of fate.  At one point, he longs to see Ellen and views her from afar but refuses to approach her unless she takes the first step by turning around.  (177)  Archer does nothing to stop Ellen from being permanently removed from his life when she moves back to Europe.  Without Ellen, he lived a life where his "days were full, and filled decently" and he "supposed it was all a man could ask."(286) When May passes away, Archer is granted a chance to rekindle his romance with Ellen.  He, however, finally takes the active role in refusing this opportunity now that he has spent his time sculpting his life and is satisfied with the product as it now is.   There is a clear element of irony incorporated into this text that both enhances and mocks the essential element of control in Archer's life.  Right up until the final scenes of the book, May is viewed as an innocent and naпve creature.  As the book's title contains the word "innocence," the reader is disposed to linking the image directly with May.  It is this innocent quality of May that leads Archer to believe that, with her, he is in complete control.  Archer persistently believes that he can fantasize about Ellen without May's knowing.  At one point he says to May directly, "Poor May" (244) When May responds with a laugh, the reader is, for the first time, apt to doubt May's innocence.  May's capabilities are also briefly unveiled when she captures the victory during an archery contest.  "With tense muscles and happy frown, she bent her soul upon some feat of strength." (173)   This is the one time in the book when May is portrayed as strong and capable as opposed to weak and helpless.  We later see that she can master not only the art of archery, but also the art of living her entire life behind a faзade of naпvetй. Archer lives nearly all his life without knowing of May's awareness of his feelings towards Ellen.  ...