ethan frome motif essay

975 WordsSep 23, 20134 Pages
English 11 AT set 1 B/D Ethan Frome Essay Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome: Connections to Motifs Motifs are interesting literary devices, treasured by many authors, to make up or help support the plotline of each story written. In the novella Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton, she uses the motif of parallelism of the setting of Starkfield, Massachusetts, and other characters such as Ethan Frome and Mattie Silver, to help describe the way that Starkfield and other factors entangle each character mentally, emotionally, and physically. The importance of this is evident, as it shows during key periods in the story. The parallelism all begins with the snowy, New England town of Starkfield, Massachusetts. The small community is a place…show more content…
He is ultimately in the same position with Mattie, but with a more intense situation, making him rather impotent. Mattie is trapped mentally by the fact that her becoming paralyzed enervated her, and she can do little to nothing about it, as shown in the quotation, “Yes: it’s pretty bad. And they ain’t any of ‘em easy people either. Mattie was, before the accident; I never knew a sweeter nature. But she’s suffered too much-that’s what I always say when folks tell me how she’s soured (Ethan Frome pg. 98).” Mrs. Hale explains her as “sour”, which contrasts her usual, pre-accident imagery of sweet, showing her change and mind set as foul and more of a complaining boor than her past self. Lastly, the parallelism of Starkfield can be juxtaposed to Mattie and Ethan in an emotional state. Ethan is stuck in an emotional labyrinth: He knows that he must care for Zeena, his wife, but he also loves Mattie. He ultimately decides that life with Zeena would be worse than dying next to his true love, Mattie, which causes his suicide attempt, which he bails out on at the last second, causing his disfigurement. Mattie is trapped emotionally in the same way: her love for Ethan. She shows her feelings multiple times, with the major attempt during their dinner alone. Her plan is to eventually get him away from Zeena and to marry her instead, but this is not a valid option in Ethan’s eyes, again pointing back to the sledding accident. All in all, Edith

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