Though the novel questions the assumptions and morals of s New York society, it never develops into an outright condemnation of the institution. But the longer the love affair between those two lasts, it becomes visible to the whole society - including May - that there must be more than just friendship.
Manchester University Press: Manchester, His life changes when he meets Countess Ellen Olenska.
Until the van der Luydens come to her rescue, society refuses to welcome Ellen because she is a woman who has left her husband. The Age of Innocence maintains an ironic attitude toward New York society through its constant comparisons with primitive society and through its biting portrayal of the society's hypocrisies.
However, Newland then discovers that Ellen has decided to return to Europe.
He gives Archer the responsibility of talking Ellen out of her plans to divorce the Count.