The problem with choosing a provocative passage from The Age of Innocence is that the whole damn book is so thoroughly quotable and stirring.

“Women ought¬† to be free — as free as we are,” he declared, making a discovery of which he was too irritated to measure the terrific consequences. (41)

Newland Archer, in: Wharton, Edith. The Age of Innocence. New York: Quality Paperback Book Club, 1993. Print.