Theme Of Misery In 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…
Being an aid to Zeena, Mattie Silver should of stayed to herself and not create a barrier between Ethan and Zeena. “For the first time he stole his arm about her, and she did not resist”(Wharton 54). Examples like these portrays the type of person Mattie was. She would accept the flirting with Ethan. The flirting escalated throughout the entire novel to a point where they were kissing and hugging. This disrespect that Mattie displayed to Zeena went beyond trying to steal her husband. Zeena had one favorite dish in the entire house. The pickle dish was one of her most prized possessions. “The cat did break the dish; but I got it down from the china-closet, and I’m the one to blame for its getting broken”(Wharton 89). When found broken, Zeena’s heart was shattered. They described Zeena’s emotions as “she went out of the room as if she carried a dead body…”(Wharton 90). This was the most disrespectful thing that Mattie could of done. Mattie knew how much Zeena loved her pickle dish. It was only used for special occasions. Mattie believed using it the night alone with Ethan would arouse him, but instead it created a large barrier between Ethan and Zeena. This disrespect could have been avoided if Mattie was only at the house to do her
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