Analysis Of ' The Hollow Countryside Of New England ' Ethan Frome By Edith Wharton

929 WordsOct 26, 20154 Pages
Just how important is loyalty in a marriage? Set against the hollow countryside of New England, Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton sets out to answer that question. The novel is centered on a troubled, complicated man named Ethan who finds himself torn when forced to decide whether he should be loyal to his tyrannical, sickly wife Zeena, or give into his feelings for the young and attractive Mattie Silver, who is also Zeena’s younger cousin. Throughout the story, Ethan’s loyalty is tested by his growing affection towards Mattie, and eventually he is unable to control his feelings for her. Though Ethan is disloyal to his wife, the reader will find themselves sympathizing with Ethan. It’s obvious that Ethan’s loyalty to Zeena is only making him miserable, which causes one to question how positive loyalty is in some situations. Ethan gave up everything he had: his reputation, his morals, and ultimately the sanctity of his marriage because he desired to be happy. Edith Wharton makes sure to hide all these messages using various tools and nuances, creating a very thought-provoking story. In Ethan Frome, literary elements such as symbols, foil, and conflict are used to accentuate that marriages need more than loyalty to be successful. Symbolism can do a lot to give greater metaphorical value to a story. In Ethan Frome, symbolism often takes the place of blatantly stating the idea in question. During the course of the story, various things that are thought to be meaningless take on an

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