Zenobia Frome, wife of the titular character of Edith Wharton’s novel Ethan Frome, is not a pleasant woman. In a passionless marriage, Zeena attempts to maintain control over her husband even when not present, while Ethan explores a budding relationship between himself and their hired girl, Zeena's cousin, Mattie Silver. Wharton explores the consequences of an unhealthy relationship lacking in love and passion though the symbolism of the Fromes’ cat and the red glass pickle dish.
A long time resident of Starkfield, the protagonist Ethan Frome shows he is considerate by caring for and helping others. He first shows this trait when he gives up his desire to live in a city to support his ill mother. Though he has a strong wish to leave Starkfield, he respects his duty and cares for his mother. Ethan also shows this attribute to Zeena, by looking after her and contributing to her medicine while she also falls ill. Zeena is again thought of by Ethan when the pickle dish breaks. Ethan, who knows how much the dish means to her, attempts to glue it back together to please her, unsuccessfully.
In many works of literature, women are portrayed as either dependent and madly in love with a man, whether he is a good man or a bad one, or they are seen as devious and only using men in order to gain something or succeed. This idea appears in society as well, even in the early 1900’s. In Edith Wharton’s novel Ethan Frome, the audience is acquainted with a woman who can be portrayed as the loving, innocent and infatuated stereotype, but when looked at closely can be seen as the real antagonist of the novel. In the novel Zeena, Ethan’s wife, can be quickly judged and seen as the woman culpable for Ethan’s demise. The audience perceives her as nasty and miserable. Mattie is Zeena’s cousin, and she is portrayed as a helpless and innocent girl who Ethan falls in love with. Wharton makes these two women seem to be complete opposites of each
Since his mother became very ill, Ethan had to stop his career to care for her and when she died Ethan was left alone with Zeena (who's planning on leaving Starkfield) to care for the farm. The author says that “after the funeral, when [Ethan] saw [Zeena] preparing to go away, he was seized with an unreasoning dread of being left alone on the farm; and before he knew what he was doing he had asked her to stay there with him. He had often thought since that it would not have happened if his mother had died in spring instead of winter…” (57). This quote basically tells us that the only reason Ethan married Zeena is because he didn't want to be left alone on the farm in winter. Ethan thinks that he wouldn't marry her if his mother had died in spring instead of winter because the winters in Starkfield are very
Although some people who read the novella feel bad for Ethan Frome because he turned out unsuccessful, nobody should. The reason Ethan turned out unhappy, like the way he did, was all his fault by his own choices. Since the beginning he made the understandably not-so-great choice of leaving college, every single decision after that was all his fault. Ethan Frome's tragedy was completely caused by his own
Ethan Frome, who has to face multiple conflicts throughout the book with his nonstop dream to be an engineer which is crushed due to the illness of, Zeena, his cousin, but who also happens to be his wife. Also a love begins to grow mid way through the book between a girl named Mattie and Ethan, even though he is still married to Zeena which ultimately leads to the distance between their love. In the book Ethan Frome, the feeling of isolation in Ethan and Zeena becomes more prominent, while anger grows between Ethan and Mattie from having denying their love, which contributes to the many mistakes and downfalls Ethan has to face throughout the book.
Ethan Frome is a classic novel, written in 1911 by author Edith Wharton. She based the accident that occurred in her novel on the historical “Fatal Coasting Accident.” In Ethan Frome, the simplicity of the accident is similar to that of the “Fatal Coasting Accident”, but the details overall are very different. Edith knew one of the victims personally, which made her change some aspects out of respect, but she also changed them to make the story her own. Ethan Frome is different from “Fatal Coasting Accident” because Edith changed the storyline and technicalities, the reasons behind the accident, and the aftermath of the accident, which dramatized her novel and made it fictional.
Ethan’s farmhouse has always been home to loneliness. An example of this is the relationship Ethan had with his mother. Ever since she got sick, she stopped talking with Ethan, and Ethan began to feel lonely. “His mother had been a talker in her day, but after her "trouble" the sound of her voice was seldom heard, though she had not lost the power of speech.” (Chapter IV) Ethan’s heartache is the only reason he ever fell in love with and married Zeena. This same process repeated with Zeena. When she got sick, he began to feel lonely and fell in love with Mattie. This also would not have happened if Zeena didn’t get sick and stop talking with Ethan.
In the novel Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton the narrator tells the readers how he met the main character,Frome, in Massachusetts.Edith Wharton takes the reader twenty-four years into the past and there we see that Frome is a young man,who chased after an education in science, but when his father dies he is forced to return back to the farm.After that his mother becomes ill and his cousin Zeena comes to take care of her,but when his mother dies, Frome marries Zeena out of loneliness. As time passes by Zeena becomes more sick, due to this their marriage is without love and Frome feels very lonely and has no one to talk to.Then Mattie silver,Zeena’s cousin,comes to take care of her,and Frome falls in love with her and can not imagine life without
The novel Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton is about a tragic hero, Ethan who is not in love with his wife, but another person named Mattie. An important symbol in this novel is a pickle dish. This dish symbolizes Ethan’s relationship with his wife. The pickle dish first appears in chapter 4 of the novel. As Ethan and Mattie are eating, the cat interferes by causing the dish to fall. The plate breaks into multiple pieces. The dish mainly represents the broken relationship of Ethan and his wife, Zeena, after Mattie arrives. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton uses a pickle dish to symbolize Ethan and Zeena’s relationship in the past, and future.
In Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton utilizes a broken pickle dish, to represent the views of espousement, and the representation of their varied human actions. Ethan and Zeena Frome’s marriage represents a union based on obligation rather that love. Throughout the story, Ethan is a weak and submissive husband under the control of a domineering wife. Unfortunately with this type of relationship, a goal of happiness cannot be achieved or
Ethan chooses his duty to Zeena over his dream with mattie he would receive when proposed with the option of moving to the West, he decides against it because of what he owes to Zeena. He doesn 't knows if she would not be able to support herself and that clouded future is why he doesn 't agreed to leave. Again, Ethan chooses between duty to Zeena and seeking his personal dream when he and Mattie were going to take their lives so they would not have to live without each other. Throughout his time with Zeena, he was forced to choose between duty to his family and his dreams. He could have left and continued his dream of being an engineer but instead he married her do to a sense of payment for what she had done for his mother. He cast away his dream because he did not know whether he would have an opportunity like this
In a final scene from Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton draws a timeline leading up to the main character, Ethan Frome, and his love interest, Mattie Silver deciding to take their lives rather than letting the rules implied by the society of Starkfield force them to part, their decision in turn contributing to the theme that confinement from pressure from society can drive citizens to their torment. Contributing to the novel as a whole, this scene also highlights Ethan’s built up misery by displaying his willingness to die in order to escape his unwanted marriage to his ailing wife, Zeena. To begin with, as a resident in Starkfield, a town whose residents, obviously unadjusted divorce, consider seven year of marriage as “not so long”, Ethan feels
Ethan should’ve chosen happiness instead of sticking around with Zeena and being sad and depressed in their relationship “ Must he wear out all his years at the side of a bitter querulous woman?” (Wharton 67). Mattie was his chance at freedom from Zeena and becoming happy but he was too worried about all of the consequences that would come if he had pursued his happiness. Happiness wasn’t Ethan’s first priority when it should’ve been, instead he chose to be unselfish which on most occasions is good, but in this case should’ve been avoided. Later on Ethan began to regret this decision he had made and soon it was very clear to him that he should’ve chosen happiness instead of staying with Zeena and being unhappy in his “unfulfilling marriage”. This regret is shown towards the end of the book, after Ethan made his decision to stay with Zeena and Mr. Hale explains to the narrator Ethan’s circumstance, “ When I see that, I think it’s him that suffers most… anyhow it ain’t Zeena, because she ain’t got the time… It’s a pity, though,” (Wharton 93). Ethan’s lack of not pursuing his happiness in life is what got him into the situation that he’s in at the end of the
From great risk, some fortunate few are able to reap the benefits. The title character of Edith Wharton’s “Ethan Frome” often toys with this notion but reaches an inability to act. With nothing risked there is nothing gained, effectively preventing his life from moving forward or backwards. Furthermore, risk does not always yield change, as sometimes the change is the risk, a deviation from the normality of one’s life. Ethan’s inability to take risks keeps his life stagnant, immune to change like a decomposed corps in a grave.