The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton

Wooldridge, Connie Nordhielm. The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton. 2010. 184pp. Lexile 1030.

This elegant biography of author Edith Wharton contends that through her writing she “bravely escaped” her background of wealth, social prestige, and restrictions on females.  Wharton was born into the Jones family that’s the basis of the phrase, “Keeping up with the Joneses.”  Her early life, detailed here, moved among upper class Manhattan, the summer “cottages” of Newport, and years in Europe, some of which provided the settings for her novels.  Despite her mother’s fear that her daughter was too intellectual and strong-willed to get a good husband, Wharton persisted in reading and writing, at first secretly and then publishing her work.  Numerous quotations plus black-and-white photographs convey Wharton’s personality and milieu.  In addition to notes and bibliography, the back matter includes lists of Wharton's works and their film and television adaptations.

Reading Std #1: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and implicitly, citing specific textual evidence to support conclusions drawn from it.  Have students locate facts, details, quotations, and incidents in Wharton’s life that supports the central idea conveyed by the book’s title.  They should find explicit as well as implicit evidence.