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Age of Innocence 10.23–Just a Quick Update

Ellen, Newland, and Beaufort's movements around lower Manhattan, c 1875.
Ellen, Newland, and Beaufort’s movements around lower Manhattan, c 1875.

Tracking the spatial movements of our characters continues to be revealing. If Newland measures out his life in city blocks, Ellen Olenska moves around and through the cloistered neighborhoods of the old New York elite. Of all the characters in the novel, she may be the most mobile; when the novel begins, she is recently returned from Nice. In the course of the novel, she moves from the “funny little house” on West 23rd Street to Washington, DC; she ends the novel independent and alone, in her Paris apartment. Despite the strictures on female mobility, women may be more mobile than men–and indeed they spur male mobilty as Newland rushes to Florida to urge to hasten their marriage; later takes the night train to Boston on the hint that Ellen is there, and plans a clandestine trip to Washington in the hopes that they will run away together. Cherchez la femme–Ellen is the big pink circle just above Newland’s polygon.


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