Ethan Frome And The Awakening: A Literary Analysis

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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)
In the 19th Century Society, especially that of New Orleans High Society, the women’s reputations, and positions were the most important thing to them, and in order to maintain that, they had to live under very strict expectations. “Even as a child she had lived her own small life all within herself. At a very early period she had apprehended instinctively the dual life—that outward existence which conforms, the inward life which questions” (1, Chopin). The men were also expected to cohere to certain expectations as well, but not at as high of a standard. In Ethan Frome, there were expectations that a man would be married to one woman, and be loyal to her, and …show more content…

Ethan Frome is a man, so his issues are not the same as Edna’s, but they were caused by the very same social structure, a structure in which divorce was unimaginable; because a woman would not be able to support herself on her own, they needed men in their lives for financial support. In Society during that time period, your choices would affect the whole course of your life, Edna, Ethan and Mattie are very extreme examples of what could happen to people who rebel against societal

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