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Unformatted text preview: Enforcing the Code Wharton's New York society rigidly enforces the social code. Until the van der Luydens come to her rescue, society refuses to welcome Ellen because she is a woman who has left her husband. If, however, the van der Luydens extend a dinner invitation to socially accept Ellen, then New Yorkers have a clear signal of what is expected. Mrs. Archer clearly explains this understood social code when she says that men are expected to have affairs as in "boys will be boys," but women are expected to be faithful to the end. If a person considers breaking the code, the eyes of society are everywhere. When Newland is out for a walk and sees Ellen, he worries about the eyes of Lefferts and Chivers who happen to see them. Because Newland has been in on many of the cigar-smoking gatherings of his fellow men, he knows the judgments that will arise about his meeting with Ellen. Despite that knowledge, Newland does not realize that the family has been plotting behind his back...
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- Fall '08
- Ode, Newland, social code