Edith Wharton Shows Love Can be Stupid in Ethan Frome Essay

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They say love is the strongest force in the Universe, but by god, “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton shows it can also be the stupidest. “Ethan Frome” a Fictional Romantic (and somewhat ironic) novel follows a man named Ethan Frome in his cold, melancholic life in Starkfield, Massachussetts during the late 19th century. Frome is unhappy, married, and desperate. That is until he meets Mattie Silver; his hope for a better life. Breaking down “Ethan Frome” the reader can realize that this is far more than a love story. The major theme is centered on love, but more it’s far more tragic. The novel focuses on creating a love triangle that is far from perfect and slightly awkward, but can somehow still work. Ultimately, “Ethan Frome” proves a point, …show more content…

It’s here when Mattie convinces Ethan into a suicide pact that ends in their sled hitting an Elm tree. They both survive and are slightly paralyzed. Ironically, Zeena’s health returns and she becomes the caretaker of the two. As I mentioned before, irrationality is reoccurring throughout the novel. Ethan is perhaps the most irrational character. Initially, he imprisons himself in a marriage and ruins any chance of a future for a quick irrational decision to marry Zeena (for fear of being alone one winter). He is manipulated by Zeena and tossed around like a chew toy. Frome’s inability to act is another example of his irrationality. He continually lies to Zeena (like the Andrew Hale incident) for a fast solution to an ongoing dilemma. Rather than confessing his love for Mattie and telling Zeena that they should no longer be together, he complicates the situation and chooses to live in a box where the only thing that matter’s to him is Mattie. Mattie Silver, Ethan’s only chance of happiness is similar to Ethan in her way of thinking and indecision. It’s clear that Mattie also has feelings for Ethan, but just like him, she is unable to act upon her feelings until the very end of the novel. This is her downfall. She manipulates Ethan as she “put her lips close against his ear to say: "Right into the big elm. You said you could. So 't we'd never have to leave each other anymore." (Chapter 9, Page 147). Right when it can’t get any more

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