Essay On The Quest For Happiness In Wharton's Ethan Frome

1327 Words6 Pages

The quest for happiness can be a long and winding path. One that Ethan didn’t know where to start from, or where to go when he got on it. He struggled in making key decisions to achieve happiness for himself. Instead of choosing happiness Ethan chose to isolate himself from others and not pursue his feelings although it went against his own moral code. In the novel “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton, the title character, Ethan, immolates his euphoria so he can obtain an improved quality of life for his family and to retain a superb reputation. Wharton uses this immolation to display that one should do whatever it takes to be jubilant and not live a life of isolation. Ethan’s quest for happiness started when he met Mattie, but he soon ran into a roadblock …show more content…

Ethan should’ve chosen happiness instead of sticking around with Zeena and being sad and depressed in their relationship “ Must he wear out all his years at the side of a bitter querulous woman?” (Wharton 67). Mattie was his chance at freedom from Zeena and becoming happy but he was too worried about all of the consequences that would come if he had pursued his happiness. Happiness wasn’t Ethan’s first priority when it should’ve been, instead he chose to be unselfish which on most occasions is good, but in this case should’ve been avoided. Later on Ethan began to regret this decision he had made and soon it was very clear to him that he should’ve chosen happiness instead of staying with Zeena and being unhappy in his “unfulfilling marriage”. This regret is shown towards the end of the book, after Ethan made his decision to stay with Zeena and Mr. Hale explains to the narrator Ethan’s circumstance, “ When I see that, I think it’s him that suffers most… anyhow it ain’t Zeena, because she ain’t got the time… It’s a pity, though,” (Wharton 93). Ethan’s lack of not pursuing his happiness in life is what got him into the situation that he’s in at the end of the

Open Document