Love: an illusion in American Novel

Essay by Exotic105University, Bachelor'sA+, December 2003

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Life is the embodiment of one's dreams incorporated with one's successes, most importantly, love. For some people their dreams are solely based on, love. However, for some love can be an unattainable dream. At times, people's romantic dreams of love and happiness are impossible to obtain. When this occurs, romantic dreams represent a vision of life at which reality ends and illusion begins.

The attempt to capture a romantic dream is the theme in many novels. Such is the case in two works of literature, Edith Wharton 's Age of Innocence and F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Newland Archer, the main character in Age of Innocence, is a married man who wants to acquire happiness and love with another woman. Jay Gatsby, the central figure in The Great Gatsby, has a dream that he could acquire love through wealth. These two novels are very similar in many ways.

One similarity is that both men are willing to change everything, they are for the inaccessible women of their dreams. They transform these women in their own romantic ideal and in the process transform themselves. Since both men live in a world of social restraints; these restraints hinder their ability to fulfil their dreams of love.

Edith Wharton 's Age of Innocence is a Victorian novel that ultimately portrays the rigid requirements and demands of New York's high society in the early 1870's. The story revolves around Newland Archer, his fiance May Welland, and her cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska. The protagonist, Archer knows the social codes and follows them unquestioningly. He is engaged to May and he is perfectly happy with his choice for a wife.

Vera 2

May follows all the conventions of her society; she is beautiful, but not sexy, and she is

trained to be perfectly...