Representations of Urban Space in Edith Wharton and Anzia Yezierska
4. Conclusion: “Gilt Cage” or “Promised Land”:Resignation and Hope in the City - 235
4. Conclusion: “Gilt Cage” or “Promised Land”: Resignation and Hope in the City I have sometimes thought that a woman’s nature is like a great house full of rooms: there is the hall, through which everyone passes in going in and out; the drawing-room, where one receives formal visits; the sitting-room, where the members of the family come and go as they list; but beyond that, far beyond, are other rooms, the handles of whose doors perhaps are never turned; no one knows the way to them, no one knows whither they lead; and in the innermost room, the holy of holies, the soul sits alone and waits for a footstep that never comes. 213 Throughout her urban narratives, Edith Wharton always returns to analogies of people and homes. The two are interlinked, almost fatally so at times. In the above quote, a woman’s soul, her “innermost room”, is never truly reached as no one ever finds access to it. In the short story “Autres Temps”, as we have previously seen, the protagonist once believed that I’d got out of it once; but what really happened was that the other people went out, and left me in the same little room […]. I’ve lost any illusions I may have had as to an angel’s opening the door.214 Wharton’s urban protagonists are passively stuck in their rooms. They are physically incarcerated because they are also mentally imprisoned by stringent social control. By submitting themselves to the rules and regulations that govern New...
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