Maturation In Wharton's Ethan Frome

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Wharton’s Ethan Frome uses Ethan Frome to demonstrate how sexual maturation and the development of a sexual identity can be stunted by circumstance. The use of imagery, symbolism, and language in Wharton’s novel emphasize Frome’s sexual inhibition and his development of sexual feelings because of Mattie. Frome’s natural reticence combined with familial tragedy at a young age prevented Frome from developing a strong sexual identity (Farland, 718). When Frome is with Mattie at Shadow Pond, he wants to express his feelings for her, but he “had never learned to say such things,” which is an indication of how he is insecure in his sexuality (Wharton, 135). Additionally, Frome’s marriage to Zeena further stunts his sexual development, as their marriage
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