“… she had represented peace, stability, comradeship and the steadying sense of an inescapable duty”. (Ch 21) Discuss the role and presentation of May Welland in the light of this comment.
The qualities of peace, stability, comradeship and having a steadying sense of inescapable duty together with being innocent and pure are qualities that encompass the ‘ideal’ wife and product of Old New York. May Welland possessing these qualities, is perceived to be the most ideal wife by the society Old New York. In representing the value of duty, May is a symbol of the tribal discipline and social form expected in Old New York. May is hence ultimately portrayed as a representation of Old New York.
May Welland is portrayed as being an ideal wife for she possesses all of the qualities a married woman should have. May is described as being “pure and true”, “straightforward, loyal and brave” with “abysmal purity”, an “innocently-gazing soul” and “helpless and timorous girlhood”. Archer sees her in the same light as Old New York as being a ultimate embodiment of a perfect wife. This effect is created through the enumeration of qualities in Chapter 6, page 37 where May is “straightforward, loyal and brave”. The repetition of the word “pure” throughout the novel in describing May emphasizes how she represented peace and innocence. Here by listing out qualities that are all of praise and are good, May is portrayed as perfect. Moreover, May fits the description of an ideal wife by being innocent and unknowing. She is portrayed as being unable to help herself and dependent on a man to guide her through the use of the word “helpless” and “victim”. An effect of May being of utter dependency is created through these descriptors. Her innocence is further enhanced through describing her age as “girlhood” as if she were a child instead of “womanhood”. Through the intricate detailed description of May as if she were a portrait, as perfect and carefully drawn, by describing her as...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document