The Suffering Of Three Souls

887 WordsAug 14, 20154 Pages
The Suffering of Three Souls The human life leads each individual through a distinct path, whether it be a path of infinite gleefulness and glory or one of ceaseless anguish and adversity. In the case of Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome, each of its characters, Zenobia (also referred to as Zeena), Mattie, and Ethan, roam through a path of misery with criminally small moments of joy. Its story is tainted with forbidden love, oppression, sickness and helplessness. Only through discussing each of the characters’ sufferings that lead up to the so called “smash-up” and after can one truly pity them as if they were actual living beings. Of the three characters, it is Zenobia who takes the place as the antagonist. However, even though she serves as the “bad guy” it does not mean a reader should overlook her character and personal sufferings. Zenobia is Ethan Frome’s wife. The couple met when Ethan’s mother became sick and Zenobia arrived to care for Ethan’s mother, who eventually did die. Shortly thereafter, her sickness began and later Ethan commented that “Zeena had always been what Starkfield called ‘sickly’…”(31). By “sickly,” he meant that Zeena constantly had one sort of ailment or another, which does end after the smash-up. An ending of one adversity only gave way to another one. After the accident, Mattie no longer has the resilience and beauty that she once had. Ironically, their positions switched from Zenobia being unhealthy to Mattie being the one with all the ailments.
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