Newland views May and her mother as totally innocent, unimaginative women who stubbornly stick to "stupid conventionalities." Behind Mrs. Welland's concern for the future of her daughter, however, is an iron will that he somehow misses. Mrs. Welland has no compassion or sympathy for Ellen's predicament, strongly disapproves of "foreigners," totally rejects any discussion or approval of divorce, and consistently rejects arguments to change the wedding date because it might violate the dictates of the season.May is not as unimaginative as Newland thinks. Sensing something terribly wrong, she trammels on customary etiquette and speaks out about her fears. When she offers to sacrifice herself, Newland admires her generosity and selfless devotion to his happiness. No, nothing is wrong if they can push the wedding up before he is overcome by his growing attraction to the Countess. May has fought
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