The Age of Innocence

Mrs. Catherine Mingott Character Analysis

Mrs. Mingott is the elderly matriarch of the Mingott family and grandmother to May and Ellen. She has always been unconventional and she built her house far away from the rest of the wealthy families, expecting that they would follow her. She’s considered to be a powerful force in society, but everyone must come to her to socialize, as she can no longer leave her house due to her obesity. She proves herself to be a good friend to Archer and Ellen.

Mrs. Catherine Mingott Quotes in The Age of Innocence

The The Age of Innocence quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Catherine Mingott or refer to Mrs. Catherine Mingott. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of The Age of Innocence published in 1997.
Chapter 18 Quotes

She tore it open and carried it to the lamp; then, when the door had closed again, she handed the telegram to Archer.

It was dated from St. Augustine, and addressed to the Countess Olenska. In it he read: “Granny’s telegram successful. Papa and Mamma agree marriage after Easter. Am telegraphing Newland. Am too happy for words and love you dearly. Your grateful May.”

Page Number: 113-14
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mrs. Catherine Mingott Character Timeline in The Age of Innocence

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Catherine Mingott appears in The Age of Innocence. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
...playing Faust. Archer looks at the audience opposite him, where he sees the box of Mrs. Mingott , who is too obese to attend. Her daughter and daughter-in-law are there, and a... (full context)
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...opera glass to Sillerton Jackson. Archer realizes that Lefferts exclaimed because another woman has entered Mrs. Mingott ’s box, wearing a band of diamonds in her hair and a dress with an... (full context)
Chapter 2
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
American vs. Foreign Theme Icon
Archer knows that the matriarch of the Mingotts, Mrs. Catherine Mingott , is quite daring. Despite initial social disadvantages, she managed to marry into the wealthy... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
Mrs. Mingott ’s husband died when she was young, but she went on boldly mingling with all... (full context)
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...be at the Opera, particularly with May Welland, but Lefferts attributes this bold move to Mrs. Mingott ’s influence. (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
As the act ends, Archer feels a sudden need to go to Mrs. Mingott ’s box and help May through her social difficulty. He hurries to the box, where... (full context)
Chapter 3
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
American vs. Foreign Theme Icon
...one is quite sure who Beaufort is, though he came from England with recommendations from Mrs. Mingott ’s son-in-law. (full context)
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
American vs. Foreign Theme Icon
...house with a sense of social security and know they’ll get better food than at Mrs. Mingott ’s. (full context)
Chapter 4
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
Change and Progress Theme Icon
...next day, Archer, May, and their mothers conduct the proper betrothal visits. They go to Mrs. Mingott ’s house to receive her blessing. Archer is always amused to visit her. The house... (full context)
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
Change and Progress Theme Icon
Mrs. Mingott has grown immensely fat. She accepts her size and now, in old age, is hardly... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
Everyone is relieved that Ellen Olenska isn’t at Mrs. Mingott ’s while Archer and the Wellands are there. She’s gone out, which seems improper at... (full context)
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
Just as the guests are about to leave, Ellen Olenska enters, accompanied by Julius Beaufort. Mrs. Mingott welcomes him informally and asks for all the gossip from the ball. She and Mr.... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...says he should come see her sometime. In the carriage home, the group talks about Mrs. Mingott , but not about Ellen Olenska. Archer knows that Mrs. Welland doesn’t think she should... (full context)
Chapter 7
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
American vs. Foreign Theme Icon
...der Luydens communicate with a look. Mr. van der Luyden says that they would attend Mrs. Mingott ’s dinner if his wife’s health allowed, but as they can’t, they will invite Ellen... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...wife meeting Ellen Olenska, along with other couples who had refused to meet her at Mrs. Mingott ’s. The van der Luydens’ power is apparent. Mrs. van der Luyden tells Archer that... (full context)
Chapter 11
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...matter that he doesn’t want to mention to the other senior partners of the firm. Mrs. Mingott sent for him because Ellen Olenska wants to get a divorce. Since Archer is about... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...because he’s about to marry into the family. Mr. Letterblair is slightly offended, saying that Mrs. Mingott and the men of the family all want Archer’s input. Archer begins to feel angry... (full context)
Chapter 12
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
American vs. Foreign Theme Icon
Change and Progress Theme Icon
Only Mrs. Mingott or Beaufort might have been able to bridge the gap between high society and artists,... (full context)
Chapter 13
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...assured Mr. Letterblair and the Mingotts that Ellen decided against a divorce. Mrs. Welland and Mrs. Mingott were very grateful to him. (full context)
Chapter 17
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
A couple days later, Archer calls on Mrs. Mingott to bring her messages from St. Augustine. She’s grateful to him for his influence with... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
Archer asks whether Mrs. Mingott might convince the Wellands to move the wedding up. She likes his spirit. Ellen enters,... (full context)
Chapter 19
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...their necks to see who else is coming. The day before, there were rumors that Mrs. Mingott was going to attend the wedding. She sent a carpenter to see whether enough space... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
People are disappointed to see that Mrs. Mingott ’s daughter-in-law has come in her place. However, everyone approves of her dress. On the... (full context)
Chapter 21
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...reins. The streets are crowded with well-dressed people in carriages. They decide to go visit Mrs. Mingott before dinner. The old woman built a house on an unfashionable, cheap piece of land... (full context)
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
Ever since Mrs. Mingott helped hasten Archer’s marriage, she has treated him as though they are partners in some... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
Mrs. Mingott asks them to tell her about the party so she doesn’t have to hear about... (full context)
Chapter 23
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
Ellen asks why Archer didn’t come fetch her at the shore that day at Mrs. Mingott ’s. He explains that he swore he wouldn’t unless she looked around. She says she... (full context)
Chapter 26
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...which point he becomes enraged and demands that Mr. Jackson explain himself. He says that Mrs. Mingott reduced Ellen’s allowance, and she no longer has the money that Count Olenski offered to... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
...Beaufort’s hands, and if he fails, Medora and Ellen will be penniless unless Ellen convinces Mrs. Mingott to give her more money. Archer is angry to the point of doing something foolish.... (full context)
Chapter 27
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
A letter arrives from May. Mrs. Mingott somehow found out the night before what Beaufort had done, and it caused her to... (full context)
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...too bad, but everyone is terribly indignant to find that Mrs. Beaufort came to ask Mrs. Mingott to back up her husband. Mrs. Mingott told her that she wouldn’t support dishonesty, and... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...in her time, the wives of men disgraced in business would simply disappear with them. Mrs. Mingott herself was brought up in the country for that reason, and her mother would never... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
Mrs. Mingott demands that the family telegraph for Ellen to come immediately, alone. No one wants to,... (full context)
Chapter 28
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
Archer runs into Lawrence Lefferts at the telegraph office. He just heard about Mrs. Mingott ’s stroke and followed Archer to find out how bad it is. He thinks it... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
American vs. Foreign Theme Icon
...afternoon, the Beaufort failure is in all the papers, but no one connects it with Mrs. Mingott ’s stroke. There’s never been such a bad bank failure, and many of its clients... (full context)
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
The next day, Mrs. Mingott is much improved, and orders that no one speak to her about the Beauforts again.... (full context)
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
...pick her up in Jersey City, as everyone is otherwise engaged. Mrs. Welland thinks that Mrs. Mingott ’s desire to see Ellen must be proof that she isn’t as well as the... (full context)
Chapter 29
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
...Archer imagined. He guides Ellen to the carriage and tells her about the situation with Mrs. Mingott and the Beauforts. As the carriage makes its way to the wharf, they pass a... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
...in May’s carriage. He suggests they walk, but she says she has to get to Mrs. Mingott ’s. She insists he stay and look at reality with her. He says this is... (full context)
Chapter 30
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...she has her usual tenderness. She asks what happened to him; she was waiting at Mrs. Mingott ’s when Ellen arrived alone. He says he had to send a letter, and he... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
Archer asks how Mrs. Mingott is, and May says she’s disturbed by the latest news about the Beauforts, which is... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
...that came to him when he leaned out the window. One day May says that Mrs. Mingott wants to see him. Archer asks whether they should go together, but May says he... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
However, Archer is shown into Mrs. Mingott ’s room without seeing Ellen. She’s sitting in her armchair, and all evidence of her... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
Mrs. Mingott says that her family convinced her to cut off Ellen’s allowance until she agreed to... (full context)
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
Archer says that Ellen certainly couldn’t have gone back to her husband. Mrs. Mingott reveals that she wants him to convince her family to let Ellen stay. He protests... (full context)
Chapter 31
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
Archer has trouble understanding why Ellen has decided to live with Mrs. Mingott . He’s sure that it isn’t due to financial motives, even though Ellen has barely... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
Before Archer saw Mrs. Mingott , he had planned to learn what day Ellen was returning to Washington and join... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...of his memories with May there. The house is dark except for one window, and Mrs. Mingott ’s carriage is at the door. He knows society won’t take kindly to Ellen visiting... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...feels her hand in his. He says they’ll be together now, and she understands that Mrs. Mingott has given him the news. Lefferts and his friend have crossed to the other side... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
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Ellen says she agreed to stay with Mrs. Mingott because it seemed she would be safer here from doing irreparable harm like so many... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
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May was at Mrs. Mingott ’s and ran into Ellen. They had a good, long talk. She feels that she... (full context)
Chapter 32
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
The Rules of Society Theme Icon
...group is talking about the Beaufort failure, and Mrs. van der Luyden asks May whether Mrs. Mingott ’s carriage was really seen at the Beauforts’ house. Mrs. Archer says if it was,... (full context)
Innocence vs. Experience Theme Icon
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
Change and Progress Theme Icon
...when he first met Ellen two years before. He almost expects her to appear in Mrs. Mingott ’s box, but she doesn’t. He looks at May, who is wearing white as she... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
Archer doesn’t understand. May clarifies that Ellen is going back to Europe soon, since Mrs. Mingott has agreed to make her independent of her husband. Archer has to steady himself against... (full context)
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
...information. She brings him a note that Ellen sent her that afternoon. Ellen writes that Mrs. Mingott understands that she must return to Europe with Medora, and she is going to Washington... (full context)
Chapter 33
The Failure of Marriage Theme Icon
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American vs. Foreign Theme Icon
A day or two later, Archer went to visit Mrs. Mingott , who lamented Ellen’s desertion of her. She thinks that Ellen couldn’t stand the dullness... (full context)