Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Age of Innocence {my take}

So, I am going to be writing about this book, maybe even a couple times.
This book was SO INCREDIBLY GOOD TO ME.  It is classic.
Not in the Justin Timberlake or stonewashed jeans kind of way, sino--the 1800's, been
read by many many people, won a pulitzer prize kind of way.

I put bookmarks everywhere in this book..
It was just really good..hold on, I'm gonna get it, quote a bookmark, and then write about
that snippet a bit...
The setting of the book is New York City in the 1870's.
The story being told is of the people who are in the high society of the day.
To me the book seemed to criticize much of what those people valued.
But really, the author might not have been criticizing..she might have just been revealing the culture..
who knows??
So much of how some of the people in this book acted reminded me of how I have actually seen
people act in this day and time.
It was amazing to me!  There is a part of the social circle of my town that is very {old}.
{Old} here could mean several things...
let's see...{old} money --as in someone's great somebody owned a plantation...
{old} as in --from a very large old family that really hasn't done a whole lotta moving out
of beaufort county--or maybe a tri-county area (these people must have come from money at some time too)
{old} as in the old and learned people --these are the ones who have ancestors on signs around the town.
the signs say things like.."here is where such and such ate lunch with General George Washington" 
--something like that...
So reading this book reminded me of this kind of {old}ness--(believe me, most of these people still
know very well "who they are".)    ;).
If someone new comes here people try to figure out "who" that person might be. 
Sometimes there is a general interest...as in--where'd you go to school, what is your job, what are you interested in...etc????  That is called making a friend.
Other times it is...more--"who" are you...how are you connected in the {old} way.  That is called getting sized up, no?
There is even a look people give --it says, "should I say hello to her??"  The person is asking themselves that
question in their head, while they look at you...
NOT KIDDING...
I usually just think to myself--nah...don't say hey to me--
That look is a turn off..

Still other tidbits remind me of ideas and ways of thinking that my own parents and aunts and uncles
and family members have.

When I came across these tidbits I bookmarked them.  All of this kind of social standard is very
interesting to me.
When people aspire to some social ideal or something like that...interesting...
Still others really could not care less...
I mean, you should see the places and homes that some of my students come from and live in.
Think:  I cannot afford food, but I have a satellite dish, and I dye my six year old's hair and I love piercings...
Something like that.
Think about the spectrum there...it is large.


Here is a snippet.  I thought this one was interesting, and I still think people think this today.
In my mind--deep down in there somewhere, Politicians are scoundrels...even though an individual one
might just be a great person.

"Everyone in polite circles knew that, in America, 'a gentleman couldn't go into politics.'  But, since
he could hardly put it that way to Winsett, he answered evasively:  'look at the career of the honest man in American Politics! They don't want us.' "
--The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton

Back to me:  Also I have always wondered why we could talk politics at home very frankly--but out and
about it was really not a good topic to begin discussing.
It has been that way so long for me, that now I really cannot stand for someone to "get political"
in public.
Very interesting.
Even though any reader who knows me in person knows that I am full of opinions, and I love
to hear the opinions of others, and have discussions there is still part of lo politico that is meant
to be discussed privately.

Okay, this post was all over the place...
Back from kiddielandia into --the recesses of my brain while I read a book at night...
Good lord!

2 comments:

jennbland said...

So I have really enjoyed this walk through the recesses of your mind... Thanks for sharing. I had never thought to read this book but I'll pick it up now!

Bethany said...

You had some thoughts on this one! Is it your {longest} post? I don't know if I have read it.. will pick it up and see, so I can be ready for you! Yes... I know all of those looks... they are so human, huh. That is one thing I love about living here. Anonymity, of a sort. I don't know who's who here, and they don't know me. Like a re-invention! Hmm, I didn't know you had hesitation about political discussions in public. Learn something every day, bloggy bud. ;)