Negative Effects Of Relationships In Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome

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Kirsten Dunst once said, “You can never control who you fall in love with, even when you're in the most sad, confused time of your life. It just happens.” This quote relates to the relationships between the characters in Ethan Frome. The relationships people have with each other can affect them in a negative or positive way, and in Edith Wharton's novel, Ethan Frome, Ethan Frome and Mattie Silver enjoy a unique relationship that affects them both in a positive way. One positive effect of Ethan Frome and Mattie Silver’s relationship is that Frome initiated to invest more thought into his actions. An example of this is after “Mattie Silver's coming he had taken to shaving every day”(Wharton 39). This shows how Ethan Frome began to be more mindful about his…show more content…
Ethan Frome’s wife, Zeena Frome, is “tall and angular”, and she has “flat breasts”(Wharton 54). These characteristics are not considered very feminine, and they do not portray Zeena as pulchritudinous. However, Ethan Frome is able to distract himself from Zeena’s appearance because Mattie Silver is very attractive, young, and energetic. Another way Ethan Frome is able to escape his accustomed situation is by engaging in dinner with Mattie Silver. When Frome participates in dinner with Silver, he is able to forget the unpleasant times with his wife for a while just by being in Mattie Silver’s presence. However, Ethan Frome is unable to forget society and morality because he is reminded of these when they are eating dinner because Mattie Silver “seemed infinitely farther away from him and more unapproachable”(Wharton 93). This relates to one of the story's major themes of society and morality as obstacles to the fulfillment of desire. While they eat indoors, Frome feels morally obligated to restrain himself from showing Mattie Silver any affection because he has a
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