Edith Wharton, author of the novel Ethan Frome, speaks through her narrator to tell the ironically realistic tale of a poor, wishful New England farmer, who quickly realizes that his desire for happiness is futile. Ethan Frome’s acquaintances in town describe him as a man who has lived in the small town of Starkfield, Massachusetts for “too many winters,” yet Ethan is only fifty-two years old (Wharton 10). As the narrator relates the “tale of unremitting isolation, loneliness, intellectual starvation, and mental despair,” it is obvious that Ethan’s suffering is something “neither poverty nor physical suffering could have put there” (Faust 817; Wharton 13). The misery from which Ethan suffers is the heartbreak over the unaccomplished dreams of his past. In Edith Wharton’s novel Ethan Frome, the author examines the effects of reality on the fulfillment of the dreams of the characters and the narrator through social conventions, isolation, and fatalism.
In the book Ethan Frome, written by Edith Wharton there are 3 main characters that are trapped in a love triangle, Ethan, Mattie, and Zeena. Although Ethan and Mattie long to be together the circumstances they are in aren't ideal. A theme of Moral Isolation is woven throughout this story. In chapter 5 it shows what could be between Ethan and Mattie’s character, a bittersweet day is shared between the two. There are things that help further develop the theme of Moral Isolation in this chapter such as setting, dialogue, and characters.
Throughout Ethan Frome, winter seems to be a prominent season that is spoken of or described. In symbolic terms, winter is a time of dormancy. It is a time when life gives way to stillness and people take the time to reflect and still their minds and souls. Although winter does, in fact, reflect despair, death, loneliness and pain, it is not all negative. The main component of a winter storm is snow and what color is snow? White. White symbolizes hope, rebirth, naivety and much more just like life in a winter wonderland might. In the case of Ethan Frome though, there seems to be a far darker meaning behind it. The fact that he's "...been in Starkfield too many winters" (Pg. 4) shows the real symbolism that's been the long-lived dormancy of Ethan's life.
“I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story. If you know Starkfield, Massachusetts, you know the post-office. If you know the post-office you must have seen Ethan Frome drive up to it, drop the reins on his hollow-backed bay and drag himself across the brick pavement to the white colonnade; and you must have asked who he was.”(1) The novel Ethan Frome takes place during the winter during late 1800’s to early 1900’s in Starkfield Massachusetts. The setting is significant because it brings the narrator to Ethan's house so he can tell the narrator his life story and Ethan feels like he was not allowed to leave starkfield in the story.
Everyone in the world wants to be happy in life, but most of the time that doesn’t really happen. Many people usually face hardship in their life for them to become happy in the long run. Henry David Thoreau once said, “Most men live lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them,” which mean some people keep their struggles quiet. Men fake their life until they reach a grave and realized they did nothing in life. This relates to Ethan because when the argument happened between him and Zeena he than expresses his frustration towards her. In the book, Ethan Frome Ethan lives a tragedy life. Ethan has a lot of complex problems like Ethan marrying Zeena and him not able to stand up for his wife. After Ethan and Zeena get married, Zeena becomes an annoying, selfish and sick wife to Ethan.
In Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome, are specific details in the chapters that contain symbols. “Symbolism is the use of symbols to signify ideas and qualities by giving them symbolic meanings that are different from their literal sense. Generally, it is an object representing another to give it an entirely different meaning that is much deeper and more significant (Literary Devices 1).” Symbolism is used throughout literature especially in Ethan Frome. These symbols in this book bring out the theme that is seen in the book. The symbols that are shown in Ethan Frome is Mattie’s red scarf and ribbon, the dead vines that are in front of Ethan Frome’s house, and the cat with the red glass pickle-dish.
This information the narrator gives makes me think that later in the story and through Ethan Frome is going to perpetually attempt to demonstrate his love to Mattie Silver, as well try to make her like him. Furthermore, as a result of Ethan’s strong obsession to be with Mattie, I can elicit that Ethan is going to incorrectly assume and interpret Mattie gestures, due to his obsession and will not be thinking clearly about her actions. Which, is evident in the passage being he took incorrect ideas into his brain, by seeing Mattie with Denis Eady.
Character of Ethan Frome Ethan Frome, a tragic romance, first published in 1911, is widely regarded as Edith Wharton's most revealing novel and her finest achievement in fiction. Set in the bleak, barren winter landscape of New England, it is the tragic tale of a simple man, bound to the demands of his farm and his tyrannical, sickly wife, Zeena, and driven by his star-crossed love for Zeena's young cousin, Mattie Silver. An exemplary work of literary realism in setting and character, Ethan Frome stands as one of the great classics of twentieth-century American literature.
Edith Wharton utilizes multiple literary devices in Ethan Frome to convey different meanings for the readers to decipher. She exercises the use of symbolism the most throughout this novel. Ethan Frome is the story of a man trapped in his marriage while falling for his wife's caretaker and cousin. This complicated relationship and its many tense situations, allows Wharton to dive into different scenarios and symbolic meanings. The most notable uses of symbolism occurs during Ethan and Mattie’s first night together.
In the novel Crow Lake by Mary Lawson you notice how the problems an person experiences plays a vast role in shaping their identity. Adversity is beneficial in shaping a person’s identity, as it will help a character open their mind to the problems occurring around them. You observe throughout the novel how the death of Mr. and Mrs. Morrison shaped the lives of Luke, Matt, Kate and Bo. As Matt’s life is being shaped throughout the novel, he ends up facing a problem with Marie Pye. Kate’s character was shaped from a lot of difficulties that happened throughout the novel. The problems each character experience in the novel played a role in making them the people they end up being at the end of the novel.
Throughout your life and possibly school there has been difficult obstacles you have to get through in order to be a better person, but “dealing with obstacles is a crucial part of being successful in life” (“The Psychological Response to Obstacles.”). Although not only are there obstacles in school but also in love stories. This is the kind of love Edith Wharton chose to write about in her book "Ethan Frome. " Where the characters, Ethan Frome and Mattie Silver, experienced love but were forbidden to have due the fact that they were each other’s in-law. The love between Ethan and Mattie creates the struggle to overcome obstacles.
There are a quite a few short stories, novels,and poetry that uses things to represent something else. This is also known as symbolism. Stories and novels such as “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston, “The Most dangerous Game” by Richard Connell, and “ The Giver” by Lois Lowry. These novels consist a great deal of symbols.Also, these symbols may have more than one meaning to them. In the novel “Ethan Frome”,there are many different things that symbolizes something. The symbols that are found in the novel, “Ethan Frome”, is the cat, the dead cucumber vine and the pickle dish.
Responsibility is relevant to Ethan Frome because Ethan feels he is responsible for taking care of Zeena and supporting her during her time of pain and illness, just as she comforted and nursed his mother when she needed it. To reimburse for the time and effort Zeena spent, not only taking care of his mother, but also comforting him, Ethan marries Zeena. At a young age, Ethan drops out of school and decides he needs to fulfill the duty of taking care of the loved ones around him. “Somebody had to stay and take care for the folks. There warn’t ever anybody but Ethan. Fust his father – then his mother – then his wife” (Wharton 5). Ethan does not want to abandon anyone during their time of agony and despair. Overlooking the fact that he
Ethan’s desire to become an engineer ceases when he abandons his studies at Worcester in order to take care of his family. “Somebody had to stay and care for the folks. There warn’t ever anybody but Ethan” (11). Ethan feels that he can not abandon anyone who seems to be in pain, but this ends up hurting himself and the people that he cares about. Ethan Frome’s loyalty eventually starts to interferes with all of his hopes and dreams that he has for himself.
Ethan frome is the main character of Edith Wharton's novel. Ethan lives a miserable life, resents his lost opportunities and hates living a loveless marriage. He is often trapped between his obligations to his wife Zenna what what society limits him to. Ethan studied a year in college and if he hadn't been called upon to tend for his mother, the mill and the farm, he probably would have been really successful in his profession. He felt as if it was his responsibility of care for the mill and the farm. After his mother died, he asked his mother’s caretaker, Zeena to marry him because he thought it was his responsibility to do so since she had taken care of his mother and because he was trying to escape the loneliness and silence of his