Moral Issues In Ethan Frome

886 Words4 Pages
Colin Wester, Jacob De La Cruz, Micah Sturgeon
Philipose
Humanities I-1st
20 February 2018
Ethan’s True Morality Many characters in fiction struggle with moral problems that can make it unclear to the reader if they’re truly an ethical character, and one of the best examples of this include the titular character of Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. The definition of his morals can at times seem unclear, seeming like a well-intentioned person at some points and appearing exceedingly selfish in others. However, evidence throughout the novel supports the fact that in the end Ethan truly has a noble heart An instance of this seen frequently throughout the book involves Ethan’s worries about Zeena’s fate. Near the end of the story, as Ethan writes the note to let Zeena know about his leaving to the west with Mattie, he stops out of concern for her. He thinks, “And what of Zeena’s fate? Farm and mill were mortgaged to the limit of their value…
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No matter the reason Zeena may be faking her illness, Ethan still decides to stay with Zeena for as long as possible. Later, when Mattie comes along, Ethan has to take a while to decide what to do and only tries to commit suicide because of his love for both Zeena and Mattie.Ethans actions prove his love time and time again. Ethan Fromes morality occurs when Mattie breaks a pickle plate important to Zeena. Ethan says he will fix it because he cares for Mattie and does not want her to get in trouble by Zeena. This also shows how he loves Zeena too by wanting to fix her plate allowing her to think that nothing had happened and Ethan still cares for her. This quote after the cat breaks the plate proves this, “She needn't know anything about it if you keep quiet. I'll get another just like it tomorrow.” (Page 46) This quote shows how Ethan cares for Mattie and Zeena and how he feels about both of

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