In a final scene from Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton draws a timeline leading up to the main character, Ethan Frome, and his love interest, Mattie Silver deciding to take their lives rather than letting the rules implied by the society of Starkfield force them to part, their decision in turn contributing to the theme that confinement from pressure from society can drive citizens to their torment. Contributing to the novel as a whole, this scene also highlights Ethan’s built up misery by displaying his willingness to die in order to escape his unwanted marriage to his ailing wife, Zeena. To begin with, as a resident in Starkfield, a town whose residents, obviously unadjusted divorce, consider seven year of marriage as “not so long”, Ethan feels
Ethan Frome is a classic novel, written in 1911 by author Edith Wharton. She based the accident that occurred in her novel on the historical “Fatal Coasting Accident.” In Ethan Frome, the simplicity of the accident is similar to that of the “Fatal Coasting Accident”, but the details overall are very different. Edith knew one of the victims personally, which made her change some aspects out of respect, but she also changed them to make the story her own. Ethan Frome is different from “Fatal Coasting Accident” because Edith changed the storyline and technicalities, the reasons behind the accident, and the aftermath of the accident, which dramatized her novel and made it fictional.
A long time resident of Starkfield, the protagonist Ethan Frome shows he is considerate by caring for and helping others. He first shows this trait when he gives up his desire to live in a city to support his ill mother. Though he has a strong wish to leave Starkfield, he respects his duty and cares for his mother. Ethan also shows this attribute to Zeena, by looking after her and contributing to her medicine while she also falls ill. Zeena is again thought of by Ethan when the pickle dish breaks. Ethan, who knows how much the dish means to her, attempts to glue it back together to please her, unsuccessfully.
Ethan marries Zeena after Zeena comes to care for Ethan's sick mother. Ethan's mother eventually dies and just before Zeena leaves "he was seized with an unreasoning dread of being left alone on the farm" so to avoid facing loneliness he unconsciously asks her to marry him(35). Similarly Whartons expected marriage, Ethan merely married Zeena because "he felt obligated to her" and he was "not aware of the implications of having her was a wife"(66 Farwell). Whartons unromantic and incompatible marriage is seen in Ethan because he quickly realizes he is "not in love with her, he does not find her beautiful and mostly he does not find her interesting"(66). In addition to the similar incompatibility seen in Whartons marriage, Ethan's wife also begins to fall ill just as Teddy Wharton had. Zeena "becomes obsessed with her various aches and pains" neglecting Ethan and "falling silent"(64 Farwell). Ethan becomes miserable and starts to become hostile towards Zeena, while Zeena becomes "a hundred times more bitter and discontented than when he had married her"(64). Ethan begins to see "the long misery of his baffled past, of his youth failure, and hardships and vain" in Zeena(58). Based on the striking similarities it is often seen that "Frome is Wharton trapped in a loveless
The tragic novella of Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton focuses on adultery in rural New England. Stressing the importance of relationships, the narrator tells the story of Ethan Frome, a man searching for love. Despite being married to his cousin Zeena, he only views this civil union as a moral obligation. Then, he ventures into an adulterous relationship with Mattie Silver, and begins to understand what love is really about. The author often focuses on a red pickle dish, a treasured wedding gift, which unexpectedly shatters. In the story, Ethan Frome, by, Edith Wharton, Ethan and Zeena Frome’s broken pickle dish is a symbol of their dysfunctional relationship, of the unusual setting under which it is destroyed, and the ideas of matrimony.
The novel Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton is about a tragic hero, Ethan who is not in love with his wife, but another person named Mattie. An important symbol in this novel is a pickle dish. This dish symbolizes Ethan’s relationship with his wife. The pickle dish first appears in chapter 4 of the novel. As Ethan and Mattie are eating, the cat interferes by causing the dish to fall. The plate breaks into multiple pieces. The dish mainly represents the broken relationship of Ethan and his wife, Zeena, after Mattie arrives. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton uses a pickle dish to symbolize Ethan and Zeena’s relationship in the past, and future.
In his essay about self-reliance, Emerson writes, “Suppose you should contradict yourself; what then? It seems to be a rule of wisdom never to rely on your memory alone, scarcely even in acts of pure memory, but to bring the past for judgment into the thousand-eyed present, and live ever in a new day.” (Pg. 5) In this quotation, Emerson clarifies a misconception that he believes is generally accepted among people. He explains that a person’s contradicting her/his previous decision is not a negative action. It is actually healthy for a person to have enough confidence to change her/his mind. This quality of a self-reliant individual is exemplified by Ethan in the novel Ethan Frome. As Ethan leaves his mother’s funeral, Wharton writes, “...when he saw her [Zeena] preparing to go away, he was seized with an unreasoning dread of being left alone on the farm; and before he knew what he was doing he had asked her to stay there with him. He had often thought since that it would not have happened if his mother had died in spring instead of winter…” (Pg. 29) In this quotation, Wharton highlights the fact that Ethan is unhappy with his original decision to marry Zeena. When Ethan asks Zeena to marry him, his desire for her is out of loneliness due to his mother’s death. Later on in the novel, however, Ethan realizes that he does not love Zeena and that he wants to begin a relationship with Mattie. Ethan has the choice to discard his true feelings, stay married to Zeena, and forget about Mattie. Despite this opportunity to avoid divorce and hardships, Ethan agrees to commit suicide together with Mattie in order for them to live happily in their afterlife together. Ethan is confident and knows what he wants out of his relationships, which helps him complete the second component of self-reliance according
He abruptly chose not to go back to school after his father died, which was one of his biggest mistakes. He stayed in Starkfield even though he had the opportunity to go back to school and study his main interest, science. Because of this, he spent most of his days cooped up in his house. “But one phrase stuck in my memory…Guess he’s been in Starkfield too many winters.”(Wharton 3). Because of his loneliness, he asked Zeena to marry him without thinking it through. He had no feelings for her and desperately hoped it would make him feel better. While being married to Zeena, his unhappiness peaked and caused him to fall in love with another girl who was the Fromes’ maid, Mattie Silver. Romance was in the air and most definitely not between Zeena and Ethan. Ethan flirted with Mattie and would try his hardest to impress her, for example, he began shaving his face everyday which he never used to do for Zeena. These inappropriate actions caused chaos within the household. Ethan began to lust over Mattie, wanting to spend as much
One of many ignorant choices Ethan makes is when his mother gets ill, somewhere in the beginning of the story. During this time, Ethan dropped out of college. It’s
Ethan Allen was an American Revolutionary fighter who helped found Vermont. He lived from January 21, 1738 and died on February 12, 1789. He was born in Litchfield, CT, and died in Burlington, VT. Ethan Allen had a big family that, grew up in Vermont. Ethan died of a stroke at age 52, on his Winooski River homestead. Also when he died, he died with the title of the patriotic leader of the Green Mnt. Boys. He was remembered for taking the British fort at Ticonderoga with Benedict Arnold on May 1775. The Battle fort at Ticonderoga was the first battle ever won by the americans, in the Revolutionary War. Then he moved to Vermont after the French and Indian War. Ethan was lots of things like a farmer and businessman. But he is best known as one
In the novel Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton the narrator tells the readers how he met the main character,Frome, in Massachusetts.Edith Wharton takes the reader twenty-four years into the past and there we see that Frome is a young man,who chased after an education in science, but when his father dies he is forced to return back to the farm.After that his mother becomes ill and his cousin Zeena comes to take care of her,but when his mother dies, Frome marries Zeena out of loneliness. As time passes by Zeena becomes more sick, due to this their marriage is without love and Frome feels very lonely and has no one to talk to.Then Mattie silver,Zeena’s cousin,comes to take care of her,and Frome falls in love with her and can not imagine life without
Ethan chooses his duty to Zeena over his dream with mattie he would receive when proposed with the option of moving to the West, he decides against it because of what he owes to Zeena. He doesn 't knows if she would not be able to support herself and that clouded future is why he doesn 't agreed to leave. Again, Ethan chooses between duty to Zeena and seeking his personal dream when he and Mattie were going to take their lives so they would not have to live without each other. Throughout his time with Zeena, he was forced to choose between duty to his family and his dreams. He could have left and continued his dream of being an engineer but instead he married her do to a sense of payment for what she had done for his mother. He cast away his dream because he did not know whether he would have an opportunity like this
Ethan should’ve chosen happiness instead of sticking around with Zeena and being sad and depressed in their relationship “ Must he wear out all his years at the side of a bitter querulous woman?” (Wharton 67). Mattie was his chance at freedom from Zeena and becoming happy but he was too worried about all of the consequences that would come if he had pursued his happiness. Happiness wasn’t Ethan’s first priority when it should’ve been, instead he chose to be unselfish which on most occasions is good, but in this case should’ve been avoided. Later on Ethan began to regret this decision he had made and soon it was very clear to him that he should’ve chosen happiness instead of staying with Zeena and being unhappy in his “unfulfilling marriage”. This regret is shown towards the end of the book, after Ethan made his decision to stay with Zeena and Mr. Hale explains to the narrator Ethan’s circumstance, “ When I see that, I think it’s him that suffers most… anyhow it ain’t Zeena, because she ain’t got the time… It’s a pity, though,” (Wharton 93). Ethan’s lack of not pursuing his happiness in life is what got him into the situation that he’s in at the end of the
In society, from the 1800s to the 1950s to today, there frequently is the assumption that it is necessary to put the needs and importance of the community in front of one’s own. Though this may seem out of place in some situations, in others it is simply protocol in order for the society to function smoothly. But in the cases of Edna Pontellier and Ethan Edwards, two seemingly very different characters, they both share the same struggle between their own personal interests and those of society. Edna, a Kentucky native married to a New Orleans Creole, faces her own private conflict as she does not understand the culture of this traditional society. While she is expected to be a loving mother and a doting wife, she feels conflicted while loving another man and not following the ways of a mother-figure. In the case of Ethan, he is a wanderer in a society that relies heavily upon each other. When his niece goes missing, his drive and bravery leads him on the search for her, but also leads him into conflict with newfound urge for revenge. This contradiction of feelings for both characters is
Ethan Frome is a man, so his issues are not the same as Edna’s, but they were caused by the very same social structure, a structure in which divorce was unimaginable; because a woman would not be able to support herself on her own, they needed men in their lives for financial support. In Society during that time period, your choices would affect the whole course of your life, Edna, Ethan and Mattie are very extreme examples of what could happen to people who rebel against societal