Ethan Frome Character Analysis Essay

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Ethan Frome takes place in Starkfield, Massachusetts, in the late 1890s to the early 1900s. One of the three main characters Zenobia, better known as Zeena, is Ethan Frome’s wife. Zeena and Ethan came to be a couple when Ethan’s mother became sick and Zenobia came to assist her. After Ethan’s mother passed, Ethan felt lonely and did not want Zeena to leave. Ethan fell in love with Zeena and later married her, although she was seven years older than him. After a small time of being married to Ethan, Zeena became sick herself. Throughout the story Zeena went from being a nurse to a patient, only to return to her role as being a nurse for both Ethan and Mattie, the help. In Edith Wharton’s naturalist novel Ethan Frome, the main character, Zeena, is a jealous, hypochondriac who ends up becoming the most responsible character in the novel. …show more content…

After years of being sick, Zeena’s hypochondria gets in the way of their relationship and begins to speak negatively of everything every time a conversation takes place. Zeena’s negativity ultimately leads to Ethan shutting her out altogether and not speaking. Mattie Silver then comes into the picture after her parents die and the Fromes take her in to assist Zeena. Ethan begins to show attraction to Mattie after her sudden outburst of life, figuratively speaking, and positivity that has entered into his life. Mattie genuinely listens to Ethan’s thoughts per se, rather than invariably talking about herself and her problems. In chapter two, Ethan quotes “... It was during their night walks back to the farm that felt most intensely the sweetness of this communication…” Zeena’s streak of jealousy caused her verdict for Mattie to leave, without

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