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 novel, Ethan Frome, there are two women that are apart of Ethan Frome’s pitiable existence, Zeena and Mattie. There are both acutely different from each other but they also share some similarities between themselves. Zeena and Mattie are different in many ways in the matter of appearance, their outlook on life, and their interest in Ethan Frome but eventually it shows towards the end of the novel that Mattie is not so much distinct from these qualities after “the smash up”.
In Edith Wharton’s novel Ethan Frome, setting is an important element. The setting greatly influences the characters, transportation, and activities.
Despite gender, living conditions or cultural backgrounds most people grow up reading or hearing stories of heroism and damsel in distress scenarios. Anne Sexton turns stereotypes on their head in her satirical poems of classic fairy tales, including Snow White and The Seven Dwarves and Cinderella. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves tells the tale of a young princess with hair as black as coal and skin as pale as snow, whose life is thrown into turmoil at the hands of her overbearing stepmother. Cinderella tells the story of a young girl who she spends her life is yearning for the prince’s ball, and similar to Snow White, Cinderella’s stepmother is influencing her life, however she is a positive character throughout the story. This sheds light on the stepmother in Snow White’s piece as despite the fact that Snow White’s stepmother clearly does inherently evil things, a re-reading demands a re-examination of why. It is throughout these tales’ where stepmothers are only trying to protect their children from the world around them, however in Snow White an outside motive, the beauty provided by the mirror and the pride manifested by poison, creates a barrier between the queen and her stepdaughter, thus giving her the title “Evil”.
Snow White is a fairy-tale known by many generations; it is a beloved Disney movie, and a princess favoured by many kids. But did you know the fairy-tale was made to teach young children, especially little girls, their duties in life? It also values beauty over knowledge, portrays women to be naive and incompetent, and assumes that women cannot understand anything other than common household chores. Throughout this criticism, I will be using the feminist lens to analyze the fairy-tale, Snow White, through the perspective of a feminist.
In //Ethan Frome// Edith Wharton illustrates how Ethan views Zeena versus Mattie through the parallel scenes of when Ethan is greeted by Zeena/Mattie at the door of his farmhouse first coming home from the dance and second coming home from. Although both scenes play out almost identically, Wharton uses the slight differences to emphasize how Ethan sees Mattie as beautiful, submissive, and attractive compared to Zeena who he only sees as an obstacle. As Ethan comes up to the door the first time when Zeena waits for him, he is so infatuated by Mattie that Zeena has become but a hurdle for him to overcome. He even dreams about if a dead vine dangling was a"crape streamer tied to the door for a
Elizabeth Ammons writes in her essay “Ethan Frome as a Fairy Tale,” that “Ethan Frome is designed to be read like a fairy tale” (Ammons 138). Although the novel itself is bleak and a little dark, we still recognize the characters as ones from the fairy tale Snow White. In the novel Mattie Silver comes to live with Ethan and Zeena. Mattie takes care of Zeena along with the household chores. When Mattie and Ethan begin to fall for each other Zeena notices. The silent tension in the house grows greater and greater every day Mattie is in the house. In a search for their fairytale ending the two try to take their own lives, little did they know it would lead to nothing but misery. In her novel Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton
In the novel Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, the minor character Mattie Silver serves as a foil towards the main character Ethan Frome. Throughout the novel, Ethan is a man who faces many challenges in his path causing what little happiness he has to vanish therefore illuminating the work as a whole. One may realize the faults of Ethan’s ways through theme, symbolism and irony.
In the novel Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, Ethan’s wife Zeena plays an important role in the novel. Zeena changes Ethan through their marriage, and her illness. It is interesting when we find out that Zeena is actually Ethan’s cousin. It is questionable whether Zeena is sick or not. She often appears to be a hypochondriac. In the novel the narrator states that “Zeena, she’s always been the greatest hand at doctoring in the county” (5). If Zeena had the greatest hand at doctoring, she would be able to help take care of herself and at the same time help others.
In Edith Wharton’s novel, Ethan Frome, one major critical theory revolves around the psychological criticism. The novel revolves around this critical theory because Wharton wanted the reader to observe how the setting becomes dependent on the emotional state of the character and vice versa. Throughout the novel, Wharton makes changes to the environment to represent Ethan’s fondness for certain characters. On the contrary, Wharton displays how the setting directly influences Ethan’s mental state. As the reader perceives this influence that each character has on Ethan Frome, they can develop an understanding of the relationships established in the novel. This critical theory will be expressed throughout the literary analysis paper, specifically in the Novel Summary section and Literary Criticism sections. The following text will analyze the drastic changes in the environment and compare it to Ethan’s mental state.
Red Jackets’ “Reply to the Missionary Jacob Cram” and the poems written by Phillis Wheatley both have something in common. Belief in a God/god(s). Red Jacket provides that in his culture there is the belief in the Great Spirit which Jacob Cram wants to change to the almighty God and Phillis Wheatley shows how what she went through as a slave brought her to an un-denying devotion to God. Religion is something that has developed continually over the years, but one thing has remained the same… every individual has their own God or god(s) that they profess their faith in. What does the belief in a Great Spirit or the belief in God reveal about Red Jacket and Phillis Wheatley? It reveals who they are as an individual, how they live their life, their character, and also shows their past and how they have gotten where they are today.
Negative female antagonist play a very particular role within fairy tales. The female antagonists are often very dominant, they are not married and unable to bare children due to the fact that they are usually old. However there are times in which the antagonist is a beautiful women who’s jealously often overbears her physical appearance. In “Snow White” Snow’s Step mother is constantly looking for assurance about her physical appearance, so she confides in her magic mirror, “Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who in this land is fairest of all?” (Grimm 54). Snow white’s stepmother is taken aback and enraged after later being told that she is no longer the prettiest woman. “You my queen, are fair; it is
Margaret Atwood’s satirical poem, “There Was Once”, aims to disrupt the generic conventions of a traditional fairy tale. Atwood begins with the traditional opening of a fairy tale by writing, “there once was a poor girl, as beautiful as she was good, who lived with her wicked stepmother in a house in the forest” (Atwood 406). Atwood begins to dissect the aspects of a fairy tale by first calling out the normal backdrop, which is a forest. Then, she points out that the girl in the story was never poor to begin with since she lived in a house. Atwood questions why the protagonist must always be beautiful, pointing out the current problems surrounding women and body image. Atwood also complains about the fact that all of the female leads in fairy tales are white, possibly alluding to Hollywood’s constant whitewashing of films. She attacks the idea that the “evil stepmother” must always be evil and be a female, pointing out that if the stepmother had to be
Few people can grow up within today's society without knowing the tale of Snow White. From the Grimm Brothers to Disney, it has been told and retold to children throughout the ages. However, what is often overlooked are the true meanings within the story. Fairytales typically have underlying messages that can be found written between the lines, generally in terms of the key themes. Snow White discusses the themes of envy and beauty, and shows how humans' obsessions can lead to their own downfall as well as the harm of others. When focusing on the relationship between Snow White and her step-mother the Queen, it is evident that the combination of these two themes results in a power struggle in which beauty
Within the collection of fairy tales, one of the most prominent is Snow White. The tale conjured up by the Brothers Grimm keeps to what one would expect with fairytale stereotypes. However it also plays the part of ancient myths of Aphrodite. The fairytale is simplistic in reasoning, and holds to the ancient goddess’s petty reasoning. Thus, other authors have taken it upon themselves to rewrite it with different plots, once such author being Angela Carter. In her story, The Snow Child, the queen is transformed into a Hera figure. This change rewrites the story’s meaning as well as one’s view point on the villain.