Ethan Frome Setting Analysis

683 Words3 Pages
Hermiela Tegenaw
Summer Reading 2015
Honors English 11

Ethan Frome By: Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton’s novel, Ethan Frome, is set in Starkfield, Massachusetts. The novel is set during the winter. Frome blames winter, the setting, for marrying his wife, Zeena. As time goes on and spring and summer arrive, the seasons are barely remembered and never thoroughly explained. I think the setting is important because it reveals Starkfield as a cold place where hardship is greatly experienced. Winter, causing hardships, is the main source of struggle that the characters face. Whenever winter seems to be at an end it gives the characters false hope when spring and summer pass by extremely fast without any memory of it. Winter causes difficulty for
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Even though Ethan is a married man, he tends to have deep feelings for his wife’s sister. Mattie lives with both Ethan and her sister, Zeena. One day, Ethan’s wife, Zeena Frome, informs both Ethan and Mattie that she is going to be visiting a doctor. Once Zeena is gone, Ethan and Mattie both decide to get romantic and have a dinner for both of them. A bit further into the story, Zeena kicks Mattie out from their house. I was surprised that Ethan would technically cheat on his ill wife with his sister-in-law. The fact that he was thinking about running away with Mattie shows his unfaithfulness to Zeena. The most surprising fact was that even after all that had occurred, they all still end up living…show more content…
The setting in this time period severely affects the behaviors of the characters. Winter makes the reader imagine a gloomy house covered in tons of snow. It shows the unhappiness of the characters and how living together really is a drag. It also shows the hardships each character is facing. If the setting were different, for example sunny, it would not make as much sense as to why the characters are acting as they are. If it were sunny, it wouldn’t make any sense as to why Zeena would be ill or how Mattie got into the terrible accident. Winter is the main cause of the characters struggle and the connection between the characters and the settings has a strong correlation.

If I were in Ethan’s situation, and I truly loved Mattie and had the need to be with her, then I would simply get a divorce from Zeena. I would give my reasons as to why I lost my feelings for Zeena and ask to part ways. Everything was made difficult when Ethan and Mattie were going to kill themselves and things did not end well because of not communicating with one another. Mattie would not have been injured if Ethan told Zeena the truth about his feelings. Even if the truth might hurt Zeena it is better than having her find out later and living in misery for the rest of her

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