Othering In Edith Wharton's The Age Of Innocence

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As a text seemingly disparate from Edith Wharton’s other novels, scholarship surrounding Summer has tended to focus on gender and power constructions between Mr. Royall and Charity Royall. Recent scholarship, however, has focused on the social and cultural aspects of Summer. Elizabeth Ammons has taken a stark stance, problematizing Wharton’s portrayals of race by reifying normative racial constructions of the early twentieth century (68). Anne MacMaster notes the centrality of racial representations, though they appear to be marginal concerns to the plotline, in Wharton’s other work, The Age of Innocence. Likewise, Pascha Antrece Stevenson has argued that Wharton’s portrayal of Charity Royall is representative of the nineteenth century …show more content…

the Orient is not only adjacent to Europe; it is also the place of Europe 's greatest and richest and oldest colonies, the source of its civilization and languages, its cultural contestant, and one of its deepest and most recurring images of “the Other.” In addition, the Orient has helped to define Europe (or the West). (1)
Othering is an inherent classification and differentiation of peoples or cultures. This specific definition of Othering involving Europe and the Orient can be applied to other colonial constructions in which one society defines and reifies its centrality in juxtaposition and in comparison to another, neighboring community: the relationship between North Dormer and the Mountain. Thus, I have adapted Said’s notion of colonization as a process of Othering in order to explain Charity Royall’s marginality in Summer. She is the Other, the marginalized character in North Dormer, where she is reminded of her origins, but she is also an Other in the Mountains, where she doesn’t understand the culture and the social practices of the Mountain

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