I kept a pencil in hand as I read and marked up all my favorite parts throughout the entire book. I love the way Edith Wharton builds characters, themes, and conflict. I also loved the bits of foreshadowing. I love how her writing lets you make your own conclusions about who the characters are and what's important to them and what it's like in their world. I also love her she sends messages (I say 'messages' plural, because there were so many) without lecturing and allows you to deduct your own reasons how and why what happened, happened.
My favorite pages were 168 to 174 where Newland and Ellen finally communicate their desire for one another and realize at the same time that they can never be married. Tragic and ironic at the same time.
I think Ellen has a lot of class. I liked how she had all the power in their relationship. I also quite enjoyed the feministic themes throughout the book. "Women ought to be free--free as we are."
I think Newland is an idiot. Are you a non-conformist or not, Newland? Are you liberal or conservative? Are you a puppet or not? Make up your mind, man. I was frustrated at how he thought himself so much better than all around him, yet he was just as guilty at falling into line. He was so critical of others, but he was really no different. In fact, I found him more stupid because he was so aware, yet he lacked courage and real authenticity.
The end, though disappointing, was probably correct. Sometimes our dreams and fantasies are best left to our imagination.