Ethan Frome Character Analysis

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 weather and isolation of Starkfield, Massachusetts. Before the narrator of the story even meets Ethan, he makes an assiduous observation, based only upon a few things seen and heard about Frome. He states, “I simply felt that he lived in a depth of moral isolation too remote for casual access, and I had the sense that his loneliness was not merely the result of his personal plight, tragic as I guessed that to be, but as Harmon Gow had hinted, the profound accumulated cold of many Starkfield winters”(13). As an outsider,

More about Ethan Frome Character Analysis

Open Document