Decision Making In Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome

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Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome was truly a book ahead of its time, being the center of controversy, it pushed what was standard of most novellas at the time, and and especially what was expected from woman. Set in the stark winter of New England, Massachusetts it tells us the tragic story of our main protagonist Ethan Frome. Ethan lives a normal life with his wife Zeena until Maddie Silver, Zeenas relative moves in creating a tension between everyone in the house. This created obstacles for Ethan since he really needs to think who his heart was really with and who he needed to fight for. Ethan Frome is a very difficult book to read because the reader had to endure a domino effect of Ethan, Zeena, and Maddie’s impetuous decisions, leading to the…show more content…
Ethan would quietly lament this loss for as long as he lives. Not fully being able to express his true nature, a man with a refined mind who can’t show the world how he feels, and what he’s is passionate about. This can also be shown when the narrator states “His unfinished studies had given form to this sensibility and even in his unhappiest moments field and sky spoke to him with a deep and powerful persuasion”(Wharton 11). Second is Ethan hastily marring Zeena when she came to take care of his mother when she became sick, throughout the book you can easily pick up on the disconnect between the two. Although it is reasonable why he did so. Ethan’s reason to marry Zeena took place in the form of loneliness and desperation, Zeena was preparing to leave during starkfield’s longest winters, leaving Ethan alone with the recent passing of his father and mother. All of these feelings were only intensified by the overpowering cold, therefore Ethan felt like it was necessary to marriage Zeena since…show more content…
Ethan began showing his affection towards Maddie subtly, beginning by shaving every day, then he slowly started by enjoying their walks together, it then got to the point where he eventually convinced himself to ask to go sledding with Maddie “Would you like to come in and coast with them some night” (Wharton 28). This shows the building relationship between them even when they all still live in the house creating tension. Finally towards the end of the book Ethan wants to buy something for Maddie in Dennis eadys store, even when she refuses he continues to make a scene in front of other people in the store. another bad decision of Ethan was letting his passivity get in his way of happiness not sticking up to Zeena, then not planning a way out of his marriage. With Ethan being a coward he accepted what Zeena said without her even needing to ask this is for example when Zeena says she hired a new house maid to take care of her Ethan did not directly stand up for Maddie or to Zeena he only said that they didn’t have the money to pay her. Also Ethan never made a plan where him and Maddie could be together in the end. If Ethan would of just stood up to for himself all of this could have been avoided, he could have been with Maddie from the beginning and made his life much
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