Ethan Frome Free Will Analysis

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In the novel Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome conflicts with fate and free will. His fate being with his lifelong wife Zeena and him staying on the farm. His newfound free will being Mattie, Zeena's cousin. Ethan believes his free will comes from being with Mattie. He continues doing his farm work and stays with the woman he had married in an act to repay a family debt. In the book he thinks “ And what of Zeena’s fate? Farm and mill were mortgaged to the limit of their value, and even if she found a purchaser -in itself and unlikely chance-it was doubtful she could clear a thousand dollars on the sale”(74). When he thinks of Zeena he realizes his fate is to be trapped in a unbearable and boring life. This realization hits him …show more content…

He is suppose to stay with Zeena, who was not a choice, they got married because of debt, growing apart “Then she too fell silent. Perhaps it was the inevitable effect of life on a farm, or perhaps, as she sometimes said , it was because Ethan ‘ never listened’”(42). Ethan feels that with Mattie he is able to express himself, he is able to give love and receive it as well. Him taking action makes him act more bold then he had the whole novel saying to Mattie “ what’s the good of either of us going anywhere without the other one now?”(90). This shows him being bold and taking things into his hand. Ethan with Mattie before she leaves is the only time that Ethan does what he really wants. The way Ethan wants to live his life, to be free to do what he wants, even what he wants to say. Ethan gets the courage to say “Oh,Matt,I can’t let you go!”(90). This shows how Ethan wants to go against his fate of being with Mattie, using his own free will. Avoiding his responsibilities and following his free will to be with Mattie. Ethan wanting to stay with Mattie, is his form of rebellion. Ethan trying to commit suicide and failing, what he says to Mattie after they fail “Oh Matt, I thought we’d fetched it,”(94). This shows Ethan realizing that he was trying to defy his fate. He begins to think this is the result of trying to change your fate. The failed suicide attempt shows Ethan what he was doing was what he wanted to do, but the results had led to something that neither

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