Nature Of Conflict In Ethan Frome By Edith Wharton

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When a character is passionate about something and that passion conflicts with his or her responsibilities, then the character feels trapped and at war with their emotions and their moral duty. However, when the character confronts this conflict they may or may not be successful. In the novel Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton, Ethan, the main character is noble in nature and this gives him a hard time with following what makes him happy. Ethan falls in love with Mattie, however he can’t pursue his affections towards Mattie because he feels trapped by his wife Zeena, who he never loved. Through the use of symbolism, imagery, and setting the readers can see the nature of the conflict and its effect on not only Ethan but also the novel as a whole. Ethan has always been one that put the needs of others before his own. He took care of his father, even though he wanted to leave Starkfield. Then, he took care of his mother with help from a woman named, Zeena, and because she helped him he decided that he owed her, so he married her. The setting of the novel is in Starkfield, during a cold winter. The climate foreshadows …show more content…

Mattie is the opposite of Zeena, Mattie is young, attractive, and energetic. Mattie shows Ethan what it is truly like to be in love with someone. The author conveys Mattie’s character as different from Zeena through symbolism. The color red symbolizes all the characteristics such as youth that Mattie has and Zeena lacks. The color red contrasts the white lonely color of the winter. Mattie’s red scarf, ribbon, cheeks and lipstick all introduce a warm color to the novel. Ethan is passionate about Mattie, however he realizes that this passion conflicts with his duties for his wife. This conflict leaves him with no other choice but to attempt to commit suicide with Mattie. However, they fail and they end up back under Zeena’s order. Even though Ethan tried to get way from feeling trapped, he

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