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Ethan Frome Free Will Analysis

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Anna Landes
Mrs.Snipes
English III Honors
03 October 2017
Free Will in Fragments
In the novel Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, Ethan is living in an oppressive town and is torn between love and his responsibilities to his morals, wife, and environment. He makes many decisions throughout the book that limit his free will further. It’s hard to imagine living in a time when people are forced or unable to make decisions based on their true desires. Men and women in the 1800’s had limitations that are unimaginable by today’s standards of free thought. Back then men could not leave their wife and women could only get married and run a household. Even more limitations affected the disabled, uneducated, and poor. In this novel the characters ability to exercise free will is limited outside of their control.
Nobody gets to choose the parents, gender, or health that they are born with but every factor of life is an option from then on. Everyone makes decisions which leads to more decisions and eventually an entire life is molded around those decisions. This means our choices are like a chain reaction the things you have done previously in your life can affect the choices that you make in the future (Tierney). The factors that contribute to this chain reaction are not always a choice. The death of Ethan’s father puts a stop to his studies and starts his return to Starkfield. This decision can be connected to every decision that Ethan makes after. He originally had the option to
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