Symbolism In Ethan Frome By Edith Wharton

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Novels and plays that rely on symbolism express the meaning of their work through certain motifs that carry the purpose of the work. In the work Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, symbolism is used to enhance the work and its purpose. Edith Wharton utilizes the symbols of Mattie's red scarf and bow, the cat knocking over the pickle's, and the sled rides/accident to advance the purpose of the work. To begin, Ethan Frome is a man who is married to a sick woman named Zeena. When Zeena's cousin Mattie arrives to tend to her, Ethan falls in love with her beauty and spends his time attempting to catch her attention. Ethan falls in love with her and remembers the red bow and scarf that she wore the night he saw her in town. The color red symbolizes the ultimate love that he expresses towards her. Mattie wears red in many of the scenes written by Wharton, which embodies the passion that Ethan feels for her. This symbol enhances the work because it creates the major conflict in the story and the relationship between Mattie and Ethan. …show more content…

This departure leaves Ethan alone with Mattie in his house. Even while the two are becoming closer falling for one another, and with Zeena gone, their love is still interupted by Ethan's cat knocking over the plate of pickles. This is symbolic because the cat embodies Zeena as she refuses to allow Ethan and Mattie's relationship to relish and bloom. The cat is constantly around the two, monitoring their every move, which can portray Zeena secretly knowing about the relationship they have with one another. This symbol advances the work because this action of Zeena (the cat) can portray her distrust of her husband which leads to later conflicts in the story, such as telling Mattie that she does not need her contributions any longer and removes her from her

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