El auto-exilio como estrategia de adecuación al medio : el caso de May Welland en "The Age of Innocence", de Edith Wharton
AuthorsEspejo Romero, Ramón
IdentifiersPermanent link (URI): http://hdl.handle.net/10017/5038
Universidad de Alcalá de Henares. Servicio de Publicaciones
REDEN : revista española de estudios norteamericanos, 2000, n. 19-20, p. -18. ISSN 1131-9674
Edith Wharton's The Age oflrmocence (1920) presents two different types of exile, enacted in the female characters of Ellen Olenska and May Welland. The former's is a literal exile, enforced on her by the rigidity of social norms and her own yeaming for freedom. She is a representative of proto-feminism and with slight diferences can be met on a number of literary works from the epoch. May Welland is, due to her singularity, a much more complex and hallenging character. Hers is a voluntary self-exile stemming from a need to survive in a tremendously exacting environment and leading her to deny herself and strive to become what others expect her to be. Edith Wharton's technique in the depiction of May Welland is far from explicit and the true nature of the character remains considerably hidden throughout the novel. This work tries to evidence that most critical readings -not to mention those of general readersof May Welland have been simplistic, distorted and too determined by Newland Archer's view of her. Wharton's character should however prompt a reflection on the harshness of an environment in which some women could not afford being themselves.