The Effects Of Misery In Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome

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Misery is defined as “a state or feeling of great distress or discomfort of body or mind”. This is a very common theme throughout the novel Ethan Frome written by Edith Wharton. The flaws of each character lead to many bad decisions made. Ethan was very selfish, he made decisions throughout the novel to help himself without thinking of anyone around him. Zeena was very needy. Everything had to be done for her which factored into the barrier created in her relationship with Ethan. Mattie was very disrespectful. She was given the necessities to live and get paid but she over stepped them and contributed to the many of the bad decision made. Ethan, Zeena, and Mattie thought only about themselves resulting in poor decisions and living the rest…show more content…
She had an eye to see and an ear to hear: he could show her things and tell her things, and taste the bliss of feeling that all he imparted left long reverberations and echoes he could wake at will”(Wharton 46). Unlike a healthy relationship, Ethan found himself starring at Mattie from the start. He’d rather take in her beauty than dedicate his love to his wife. In a strong, happy relationship, men will respect their wives and won’t go out of their way to look or think about other females. This is not the case between Ethan and Zeena, which is evident proof that he should not of married her so quickly. Despite marrying Zeena too fast, Ethan made a larger mistake in allowing Zeena to hire a helper. Nothing good came from hiring an aid. All the work done by Mattie could have been done by Ethan. “He even crept down on Saturday nights to scrub the kitchen floor after the women had gone to bed”(Wharton 47). It’s evident in this quote that Ethan could do the work needed to help Zeena. But instead he did the work and paid for an aid that did nothing but redirect Ethan’s love. Loss of money and loss of love was the result of allowing Zeena to hire an aid. Lastly Ethan should of thought harder on Mattie

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