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Unformatted text preview: The Age of Innocence is filled with irony about innocence true innocence, feigned innocence, ironic innocence, and unhappy innocence. Wharton's life, the Gilded Age of the novel, and the characters all contribute to the irony of the novel's title. By the time she wrote this book, Edith Wharton had survived an unhappy 25-year marriage, ignoring her husband's affairs and business improprieties. She had divorced and moved to a more congenial atmosphere for divorcees: Paris. Looking back at her childhood, she was critical of a society that kept girls innocent, sheltered, and away from obstacles they might have to solve. May Welland is the perfect embodiment of that child-raising principle. Kept innocent and nave, she has never known passion nor is she supposed to know it until her husband introduces her to it. She has been taught to remain innocent and avoid life's difficulties; throughout her marriage she...
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