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The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton, contains many flat, static characters representing Old New York society. At the apex of that society is Mr. and Mrs. Henry van der Luyden. As the narrator describes, their appearances are rare, but yet these few appearances provide more than enough information for the reader to “know” the characters. This information comes from several sources. The first is the narrator, when most of Old New York society is described. The second reference involves Newland Archer and Mrs. Mingott’s seeking of approval of the van der Luydens and the exchanges that took place. The final instance is the rare occasion of a dinner at the van der Luyden home and the occurrences here. From the information here, readers develop a complete picture of the van der Luydens. At the end of chapter VI, the narrator describes the hierarchy of Old New York. The last family described is the van der Luydens. The narrator writes, “…the van der Luydens…stood above all of them” (50). The narrator blatantly tells us that the van der Luydens are the highest “ranking” family of Old New York society. Just previous to this, the narrator informs the reader that they descended from both British and French aristocracy, supporting the fact that the van der Luydens are the most revered family. Next the narrator makes it known to readers that “[Mrs.] and Mr. van der Luyden were so exactly alike… neither had ever reached a decision without prefacing it by [a] mysterious conclave” (52), this conclave being, “I shall first have to talk this over with my husband/wife.” This shows that, one, the van der Luydens cannot be characterized separately for they are exactly alike, and, two, they consult each other before making decisions. Once again the narrator brings forward, quite openly, information about said characters. The narrator’s informing the reader of such facts sets up the reasoning behind the character’s motivations, and the reactions of other characters. One of such instances involves Archer and Mrs. Mingott’s seeking of the advice of the van der Luydens. First, it is important to note that double-checking one’s plans, as Archer does here, indicates the high status of the van der Luydens. Archer and Mrs. Mingott’s having to ask another family for the “proper” thing to do proves their dominance over society and that they are the experts of “good form.

After the Bomb by Gloria Miklowitz

After the Bomb

After the Bomb written by Gloria Miklowitz is a thrilling novel that takes place before, during, and after a bomb which supposedly was sent from Russia by accident. L.A. and surrounding cities are all altered by the disastrous happening.

Philip Singer a teenager is in a position as leader of the family. His brother Matt is awfully sick, possibly from radiation, his father was away at work during the blast and for all Philip knows he might be dead, and his mother was desperately injured and needs immediate attention. Hospitals are flooded with injured and dying people and the government doesn’t send help for a few days. The badly injured don’t even get the chance to be helped because the hospitals have to send the ones that are likely going to live to hospitals that specialize in burns. His mother is so badly burned that the hospitals put her on the bottom of the list to be flown to burn centers. By the end of the novel Philip has taken charge, snuck his mom ahead to be flown to a burn center, and in a sense saved his town from thirst. He truly survived the terror, shock, and danger of the bomb.

The novel goes through a couple of settings such as, Philip’s struggle to keep his family alive, and the conflict between the nature of a nuclear bomb against the Los Angeles area. When the bomb hits he is playing around in a playroom shelter with his brother and his girlfriend. They go out to find out what had happened and found burning houses, their house only left with one wall, rubble on the ground, debris all over the place, and people running frantically for shelter. Philip’s brother became sick after finding his mother and bringing her back down to the shelter, and found that his mother had been burnt severely and needed immediate medical attention. Philip struggles to keep his brother from getting even more sick than he was and to bring his mother to a hospital. Philip’s family weren’t the only people affected by the bomb. the entire surrounding area of Los Angeles was pounded by a devastating bomb. Churches, Hospitals, and streets were flooded with sick, dying, and even dead people. Hospitals that were built to only withstand 200 people now have thousands, and hospitals lack food, doctors, and water.

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