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Ethan Frome American Dream Analysis

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The American Dream is “that all men [and women] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” (Declaration of Independence). Throughout modern-day literary works, authors have many different versions of the American Dream. In Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, the author presents the impact of a man with his own version of the Dream. In Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton, Wharton shows how society and morality are both obstacles that prevent the protagonist from achieving his Dream. In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, by Frederick Douglass, Douglass has to overcome slavery in order to fulfill his Dream. With this…show more content…
“Guess he’s been in Starkfield for too many winters” (6). Harmon Gow, who drove the narrator, had known the Frome family for a long time and had said this based upon Frome’s gloomy appearance. This story takes place in Starkfield, Massachusetts, where winter symbolizes loneliness and bitterness, which is what Ethan Frome's life is a symbol of. The sole reason that Frome married Zeena is that he would not be alone when his mother died in the winter; however, all Zeena brought to him was more bitterness and loneliness. “He was a prisoner for life, and now his one ray of light was to be extinguished” (117). Zeena wants to get Mattie out of her house and Frome wants to run away with Mattie; however, he is unable to do this because of social constraints. If he chases his happiness this way, he leaves Zeena to support herself and he is unable to guarantee to find work in the West in order to support Mattie. “You said you could. So’t we’d never have to leave each other any more” (143). At the end of the novel, Mattie is trying to get Frome to run their sled into a big tree downhill in order with each other forever. Soon Frome gives in, and they both know they would die together. This is Frome’s decision in order to fulfill his Dream. On the other hand, another vision of the American Dream is seen…show more content…
This vision seems to be very superficial, compared to how others would rather work hard to accomplish what they want to. “Bernard can get the best marks in school, y’understand, but when he gets out in the buisness world, y’understand, you are going to be five times ahead of him” (33). Loman believes that his two sons would do better in life than Bernard because Bernard is a nerd and isn’t nearly as well liked as Happy and Biff. “Be liked and you will never want. You take me, for instance. I never have to wait in line to see a buyer” (33). Loman is telling his boys that the key to success is being well-liked, which isn’t true for the brothers when they try to apply for a job. This shows how shallow Loman’s vision of the American Dream is and how it can be so much better. Considering all of these views, there is proof that there are a variety of perspectives on the American
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