A long time resident of Starkfield, the protagonist Ethan Frome shows he is considerate by caring for and helping others. He first shows this trait when he gives up his desire to live in a city to support his ill mother. Though he has a strong wish to leave Starkfield, he respects his duty and cares for his mother. Ethan also shows this attribute to Zeena, by looking after her and contributing to her medicine while she also falls ill. Zeena is again thought of by Ethan when the pickle dish breaks. Ethan, who knows how much the dish means to her, attempts to glue it back together to please her, unsuccessfully.
Ethan began showing his affection towards Maddie subtly, beginning by shaving every day, then he slowly started by enjoying their walks together, it then got to the point where he eventually convinced himself to ask to go sledding with Maddie “Would you like to come in and coast with them some night” (Wharton 28). This shows the building relationship between them even when they all still live in the house creating tension. Finally towards the end of the book Ethan wants to buy something for Maddie in Dennis eadys store, even when she refuses he continues to make a scene in front of other people in the store. another bad decision of Ethan was letting his passivity get in his way of happiness not sticking up to Zeena, then not planning a way out of his marriage. With Ethan being a coward he accepted what Zeena said without her even needing to ask this is for example when Zeena says she hired a new house maid to take care of her Ethan did not directly stand up for Maddie or to Zeena he only said that they didn’t have the money to pay her. Also Ethan never made a plan where him and Maddie could be together in the end. If Ethan would of just stood up to for himself all of this could have been avoided, he could have been with Maddie from the beginning and made his life much
In order for Mattie to be able to manipulate Ethan, he needed to be completely drawn to her. Mattie Silver arrives at a vulnerable time in Ethan and Zeena’s relationship. Ethan is quickly drawn to the idea of Mattie because of her beauty and intriguing nature compared to his wife. He was dissatisfied with his day to day; being tied down to a woman whom he felt was only out to make his life more difficult. When he was young he dreamed that he would acquire an “engineering job in Florida, put in his way during his period of study at Worcester, increased his faith in his ability as well as his eagerness to see the world” (Wharton, 27) but with Zeena that was not the case. Mattie’s youth gave Ethan a reminder of what he could have had in his own youth, she reminded him of his dreams and that he had missed his opportunity to escape Starkfield. All of this was in Ethan’s mind. Although Mattie did not have a hand in placing these thoughts in his head, her presence made him realize what he could have had, and in return it gave him more of a reason to blame Zeena for his
The author says that “he had always been more sensitive than the people about him to the appeal of natural beauty...even in his unhappiest moments field and sky spoke to him with a deep and powerful persuasion”(32). This quote proves my point that Ethan did not want to be lonely and depressed all the time, it's just he had no one to talk to about his interests like nature. When Mattie, Zeena's cousin, comes into the lives of Ethan and Zeena, she was “a bit of hopeful young life...lighting of a fire on a cold hearth”. Since Ethan has been isolated from actual social life for so long, anyone that's not from Starkfield is interesting to him. Ethan compares her to a fire on (probably his) a cold heart meaning he's been in this cold and lonely place for so long, he doesn't even care who comes into his life as long as there's someone he can interact with that's not Zeena. But Mattie was different because she was interested in natural beauty as well and that shocked Ethan because he thought he was the only one. This was the reason he “falls in love” with her. The author says that there were “sensations... which drew them together with a shock of silent joy: the cold red of sunset behind winter hills...the intensely blue shadows of hemlocks on sunlit snow. When she said to him once: "It looks just as if it was painted!" it seemed to Ethan that the art of
Although some people who read the novella feel bad for Ethan Frome because he turned out unsuccessful, nobody should. The reason Ethan turned out unhappy, like the way he did, was all his fault by his own choices. Since the beginning he made the understandably not-so-great choice of leaving college, every single decision after that was all his fault. Ethan Frome's tragedy was completely caused by his own
Ethan Frome is a classic novel, written in 1911 by author Edith Wharton. She based the accident that occurred in her novel on the historical “Fatal Coasting Accident.” In Ethan Frome, the simplicity of the accident is similar to that of the “Fatal Coasting Accident”, but the details overall are very different. Edith knew one of the victims personally, which made her change some aspects out of respect, but she also changed them to make the story her own. Ethan Frome is different from “Fatal Coasting Accident” because Edith changed the storyline and technicalities, the reasons behind the accident, and the aftermath of the accident, which dramatized her novel and made it fictional.
Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome, and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening are novels that represent the traps that society has set forth for them. In both novels, suicide is seen as the only way to escape from their constricted circumstances in which these people are expected to live in. The Frome’s and The Pontellier’s have very similar circumstances, such as blaming each other for their problems, and having marriage’s which they are not happy in. “Her marriage to Leonce Pontellier was purely an accident, in this respect resembling many other marriages which masquerade as the decrees of Fate.” (29, Chopin)
Ethan’s farmhouse has always been home to loneliness. An example of this is the relationship Ethan had with his mother. Ever since she got sick, she stopped talking with Ethan, and Ethan began to feel lonely. “His mother had been a talker in her day, but after her "trouble" the sound of her voice was seldom heard, though she had not lost the power of speech.” (Chapter IV) Ethan’s heartache is the only reason he ever fell in love with and married Zeena. This same process repeated with Zeena. When she got sick, he began to feel lonely and fell in love with Mattie. This also would not have happened if Zeena didn’t get sick and stop talking with Ethan.
In the novel Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton the narrator tells the readers how he met the main character,Frome, in Massachusetts.Edith Wharton takes the reader twenty-four years into the past and there we see that Frome is a young man,who chased after an education in science, but when his father dies he is forced to return back to the farm.After that his mother becomes ill and his cousin Zeena comes to take care of her,but when his mother dies, Frome marries Zeena out of loneliness. As time passes by Zeena becomes more sick, due to this their marriage is without love and Frome feels very lonely and has no one to talk to.Then Mattie silver,Zeena’s cousin,comes to take care of her,and Frome falls in love with her and can not imagine life without
The novel Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton is about a tragic hero, Ethan who is not in love with his wife, but another person named Mattie. An important symbol in this novel is a pickle dish. This dish symbolizes Ethan’s relationship with his wife. The pickle dish first appears in chapter 4 of the novel. As Ethan and Mattie are eating, the cat interferes by causing the dish to fall. The plate breaks into multiple pieces. The dish mainly represents the broken relationship of Ethan and his wife, Zeena, after Mattie arrives. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton uses a pickle dish to symbolize Ethan and Zeena’s relationship in the past, and future.
He abruptly chose not to go back to school after his father died, which was one of his biggest mistakes. He stayed in Starkfield even though he had the opportunity to go back to school and study his main interest, science. Because of this, he spent most of his days cooped up in his house. “But one phrase stuck in my memory…Guess he’s been in Starkfield too many winters.”(Wharton 3). Because of his loneliness, he asked Zeena to marry him without thinking it through. He had no feelings for her and desperately hoped it would make him feel better. While being married to Zeena, his unhappiness peaked and caused him to fall in love with another girl who was the Fromes’ maid, Mattie Silver. Romance was in the air and most definitely not between Zeena and Ethan. Ethan flirted with Mattie and would try his hardest to impress her, for example, he began shaving his face everyday which he never used to do for Zeena. These inappropriate actions caused chaos within the household. Ethan began to lust over Mattie, wanting to spend as much
Ethan’s initial response is to attempt to simply piece back the pickle dish with glue. The use of glue or “the easy route” to fix the broken pickle dish so Zeena won’t discover the accident, symbolizes Ethan’s thought process to try repairing their loveless relationship. Furthermore, Ethan is afraid to even tell Zeena that the dish has broken which shows the lack of communication and understanding in their relationship. Zeena’s response is much more dramatic, by intensely accusing Mattie of not only breaking her most prized possession, but also threatening her husband and their marriage. Zeena’s anger and resentment over the broken pickle dish actually illustrates her sorrow over her broken and unfulfilling marriage. Both Zeena and Ethan have varying responses, however both showing some commitment to repair their union.
Ethan chooses his duty to Zeena over his dream with mattie he would receive when proposed with the option of moving to the West, he decides against it because of what he owes to Zeena. He doesn 't knows if she would not be able to support herself and that clouded future is why he doesn 't agreed to leave. Again, Ethan chooses between duty to Zeena and seeking his personal dream when he and Mattie were going to take their lives so they would not have to live without each other. Throughout his time with Zeena, he was forced to choose between duty to his family and his dreams. He could have left and continued his dream of being an engineer but instead he married her do to a sense of payment for what she had done for his mother. He cast away his dream because he did not know whether he would have an opportunity like this
In a final scene from Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton draws a timeline leading up to the main character, Ethan Frome, and his love interest, Mattie Silver deciding to take their lives rather than letting the rules implied by the society of Starkfield force them to part, their decision in turn contributing to the theme that confinement from pressure from society can drive citizens to their torment. Contributing to the novel as a whole, this scene also highlights Ethan’s built up misery by displaying his willingness to die in order to escape his unwanted marriage to his ailing wife, Zeena. To begin with, as a resident in Starkfield, a town whose residents, obviously unadjusted divorce, consider seven year of marriage as “not so long”, Ethan feels
One of the first risks Ethan failed to take was instigating physical contact with Mattie. Stranded on the back porch, Ethan contemplates taking action, but is unsure what to say or do, only later reflecting on “why had he not kissed her” while they had momentary solitude (Wharton 37). Unsure of her feelings towards him, the precarious action of bestowing her with a kiss would have offered insight to whether or not she reciprocated his emotions. From previous events it is shown that Mattie very well may not harbor emotions towards Ethan as she has been shown to make flirtatious advances towards Denis Eady, which Ethan is “largely oblivious to”