Ethan Frome: Who Is to Blame?

1198 Words May 2nd, 2011 5 Pages
Who is to blame?

Love is supposedly such a strong force that a couple would die to be together

forever. The force that traps the escape of love and living happily together for a couple

is almost just as strong. In Ethan Frome, Ethan falls out of love with his wife Zeena and

into love with his house girl Mattie. Throughout their year together Ethan is finally able

to express his love for science and talk about what he feels is important with his one

true love Mattie. When Mattie is asked to leave, Ethan and Mattie find themselves in a

compromising position, they can’t afford to run away together, they also can’t live apart.

They feel the only remedy to stay with each other forever would be to commit suicide
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Ethan had hoped to graduate from school and make money so he could associate

with intelligent and upper class people in a larger city. Zeena, at first, seemed like

someone that he could take with him to the city because she was smart and easy to get

along with. She did not want to leave the small town and he was trapped with his low

income job. His mother forcing Ethan to come home before graduation and hiring Zeena

ultimately lead to his attempt at suicide, without her even knowing.

Mattie’s father was also at fault for the suicide even though he was not directly

involved. He moved to Connecticut to become a business man. He led his family to

believe that it would prove profitable for them to invest in his business. Before he died,

he had mismanaged much of his family’s money through bad deals. Through his death,

his family learned of his mismanagement of the money and he left his immediate family

in debt. No one wanted to help Mattie at the young age of twenty because they were so

hostile about being tricked. Zeena was the only relative that was willing to help her by

taking her into her house. Zeena trapped Mattie by not paying her but just giving her a

roof and food, Mattie could never save up to move away. Zeena was able to do this and

Mattie was forced to accept because Mattie’s father put her in a position with no where

else to turn. If Mattie’s
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