A close reading of Wharton's prose, then, is essential to a full understanding The Age of Innocence. Detailed descriptions are frequent and can include obscure references, yet each has a crucial significance. As far as behaviors and gestures are concerned, a raised eyebrow or a meaningful glance can communicate a tacit understanding, a carefully concealed passion, or a politely expressed disbelief. As for material objects like fashion and furniture, each object bears a significant relationship to its owner. In a society where personal wealth is gratuitously displayed, each object reflects the economic status of the owner. On a more sophisticated level, these objects indicate the personality of the owner: his or her tastes, interests, and values.