Desire Vs. Morality And Duty

3154 WordsSep 4, 201413 Pages
Section I: Theme Desire vs. Morality and Duty: Throughout the novel, Ethan seems to struggle with managing his desire for Mattie and his duty as a husband. This theme is apparent throughout the entirety of the novella. It starts before the book even begins. Ethan, in the first chapter, admits to often walking Mattie, his wife’s cousin, home just to spend few minutes alone with her. However it is first mentioned in the book when Ethan is standing alone, just watching Mattie dance. He knows he has a wife to get back to, but yet all he can imagine is being in that party and being the one who is dancing passionately with Mattie. Although, his sense of duty and morality is not only because of his relationship with Zeena, but because he fears the way his society would react to such a scandal. Although his desire to leave Zeena, a sour and sickly old woman, is somewhat understandable, he knows that his society would shun him if he abandoned her for another woman. Later in the book, this theme is again apparent when Zeena must leave to see a new doctor about her illness. Ethan loses his sense of duty to her, and lies to Zeena so that he can spend time with the one he so desires. However in chapter nine, this theme is most apparent. After Zeena tells Ethan that she is to throw Mattie, the love of his life and the last force that could make him happy, out on the streets to make room for a new hired girl, Ethan devises a plan to run off with Mattie. He spends an entire night making

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