The Importance Of Setting In Wharton's Ethan Frome

753 Words4 Pages
In Edith Wharton’s novel, Ethan Frome, setting plays an important role. The novel takes place in the fictional town of Starkfield, Massachusetts, in the winter and most likely during the early 1900s, a time better known as the Progressive Era. The Progressive Era brought about change and innovation in many areas, such as education and transportation. This change doesn’t really occur in Starkfield, however. Due to poor transportation, the residents of Starkfield become stuck during the harsh winter, and the majority of the rest of the year in this isolated town. The limited opportunities and lack of choice in Starkfield also hold the characters back, particularly Ethan. Setting influences both the characters attitude and decisions, as well as limiting their lives and the choices they make. The novel takes place in Starkfield, a bleak New England town during the winter months. In fact, the narrator believes that Ethan’s character developed due to the frigid…show more content…
The novel takes place in the fictional town of Starkfield, Massachusetts, in the winter and most likely during the early 1900s, a time better known as the Progressive Era. The Progressive Era ushered in massive change and innovation in areas like education and transportation. However, this change seems to pass Starkfield by, a town of fairly modest means and nothing too exuberant. Due to poor transportation, the residents of Starkfield could become “stuck” and “trapped” during the harsh winter, as well as the rest of the year in this isolated town. The limited opportunities and lack of choice in Starkfield also hold the characters back, particularly Ethan Frome. Edith Wharton writes to those people whose lives or dreams have become restricted by other people or natural causes to show them that what other people shouldn’t dictate how they live and the decisions that they

More about The Importance Of Setting In Wharton's Ethan Frome

Open Document