Ethan Frome Character Analysis

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Many see their hometown as wonderful and enjoyable, but in the novel, Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton, the small town of Starkfield, Massachusetts has a sort of weather that makes people who live there, such as Ethan Frome, miserable. In the novel the severe weather in Starkfield serves as the prime purpose for Ethan, Zeena, and Mattie’s horrible demise. He did what he could to find pleasure in his marriage with Zeena, yet he had trouble rediscovering the initial reason for marrying her. Once Mattie came along, her and Ethan started to fall for each other and he became unfaithful in his marriage and eventually it resulted in him sharing his unhappiness with both Mattie and Zeena. Ethan Frome lived in Starkfield his entire life. It is a town that “lays under a sheet of snow perpetually renewed from the pale sky” (Wharton 10). As a kid, Starkfield did not mean much to Ethan, it was just the town he lived in. But there was a time that he finally got out of there and that was when he went down to Florida to study. It did not last long, he got called back home to take care of his mother. “Guess he’s been in Starkfield too many winters” (Wharton 25). Once Ethan went back, Starkfield, Massachusetts was Ethan’s worse enemy. Many see their hometown as an enjoyable place, but for those like Ethan Frome who live in a small town with horrible weather can lead a miserable life. The town’s lonely and cold winters got him caught up in a marriage in which he never really wanted.

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