Author: Edith Wharton
Title: The Glimpses of the Moon
Page Length: N/A
The Glimpses of the Moon, written by Edith Wharton and published in 1922, is a thought-provoking novel that explores social dynamics and the concept of love within high society during the early 20th century. Through its captivating characters and intricate plot, Wharton weaves a story that raises questions about societal expectations, personal ambitions, and the true nature of human connections.
The story revolves around the lives of the witty and charming protagonists, Susy Branch and Nick Lansing. The newly married couple, depicted as "smart people" within their social circle, find themselves in a precarious financial situation. Hoping to maintain their expensive lifestyle, they devise a mutually beneficial plan: to travel among their wealthy acquaintances while seeking invitations to their luxurious homes.
The novel begins by introducing Nick and Susy, each from different backgrounds, who wed after a whirlwind romance. Struggling financially, they decide to employ a strategy known as "brushing" to sustain their indulgent lifestyle. This involves temporarily parting ways to mingle with the wealthy and gain invitations to lavish parties and homes. Although Nick and Susy remain affectionate, their actions hint at an underlying tension regarding their marital arrangement.
The couple embarks on their journey, attending parties and soirees hosted by the upper echelons of society. They enjoy an extended luxurious stay as guests of Strefford, a rich and influential bachelor, at his serene Italian villa. During their travels, Susy is introduced to an old acquaintance, the wealthy Mrs. Hicks, who raises suspicions about her intentions with Nick. These encounters prompt Susy to reflect on what she truly desires and the sacrifices she may need to make to achieve personal fulfillment.
Nick confronts his reservations about Susy's ever-growing connection with Strefford, fearing it may blossom into a genuine romantic relationship. Meanwhile, Susy contemplates the expectations placed upon her as a wife and her willingness to prioritize her own happiness above societal conventions. The couple's complicated emotions come to a head when they inadvertently reveal their true feelings during a heart-wrenching conversation, exposing the cracks in their marriage.
As the story progresses, Nick and Susy find themselves in Montreux, where they reunite with their social circle. Susy's charming presence captures the attention of Lord Altringham, a British aristocrat, which further exacerbates the tensions between her and Nick. Both characters confront their individual desires, contemplating whether they are ultimately willing to let go of their marital bond or to redefine it on their own terms.
The final part of the novel unfolds as Nick and Susy face the consequences of their actions. Susy grapples with the choice between her fleeting desires and her loyalty to Nick. Their relationship is tested as profound realizations about love, trust, and honor emerge. Throughout their tumultuous journey, the characters come to understand the complexity of their own emotions and the true nature of their connection.
The Glimpses of the Moon explores various themes that resonate with readers across generations. Wharton interweaves social criticism, love, sacrifice, and self-discovery throughout the novel. The story encourages contemplation on the impact of societal pressures on personal happiness and the choices individuals make to achieve their desires, even if it means challenging societal norms.
In a world painted with wealth and splendor, the characters navigate themes of materialism, fidelity, and the true meaning of love. Through the experiences of Nick and Susy, readers are led to question the validity of societal expectations and the pursuit of personal fulfillment.
Unique to Wharton's literary style, she presents her characters in a way that allows readers to contemplate their own values and relationships, prompting introspection and discussion around themes of human connection, personal desires, and the complexities of love.
In conclusion, Edith Wharton's The Glimpses of the Moon beautifully captures the essence of the early 20th-century high society through the compelling story of Nick and Susy. Through their journey, the novel provokes reflection on societal expectations, personal ambitions, and the intricate nature of human connections. Wharton's skilled storytelling and thought-provoking themes continue to make The Glimpses of the Moon an essential read for those interested in exploring the diverse facets of human relationships within the context of the upper class during the early 20th century.