Symbolism In Ethan Frome By Edith Wharton

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Laiken Coaker Mrs. Agee English 102 6 March 2023 Ethan Home The majority of things in life have greater meanings than they initially appear to have. Many people use symbolism in everyday life without even realizing it. However, in literary works, authors purposefully use symbolism to convey complex ideas and create impact by giving things additional meaning. In Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton uses the symbolism of the graveyard, the pickle dish, and the winter setting to illustrate the feelings and the troubles that the characters endure throughout the story. In Ethan Frome, Wharton portrays the graveyard as a symbol. The graveyard symbolizes two things. First, it symbolizes Ethan’s incapability to flee Starkfield. Ethan desires to leave Starkfield, but his ancestor's headstone which reads “Ethan Frome,” constantly reminds him that he is trapped in Starkfield. Wharton writes, “‘We …show more content…

Winter in Starkfield is very harsh and depressing, so much that the narrator describes the town as a war zone: "... I began to understand why Starkfield emerged from its six months' siege like a starved garrison capitulating without quarter. Twenty years earlier the means of resistance must have been far fewer, and the enemy in command of almost all the lines of access between the beleaguered villages..."(10). This symbolizes the constant battle against isolation and loneliness that the characters, specifically Ethan, are forced to endure. The narrator states, “I simply felt that he lived in a depth of moral isolation too remote for casual access, and I had the sense that his loneliness was not merely the result of his personal plight, tragic as I guessed that to be, but had in it, as Harmon Gow had hinted, the profound accumulated cold of many Starkfield winters” (13). In this quote, the narrator is saying that Ethan has experienced many Starkfield winters, leading to Ehthan’s loneliness and

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