Many see their hometown as wonderful and enjoyable, but in the novel, Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton, the small town of Starkfield, Massachusetts has a sort of weather that makes people who live there, such as Ethan Frome, miserable. In the novel the severe weather in Starkfield serves as the prime purpose for Ethan, Zeena, and Mattie’s horrible demise. He did what he could to find pleasure in his marriage with Zeena, yet he had trouble rediscovering the initial reason for marrying her. Once Mattie came along, her and Ethan started to fall for each other and he became unfaithful in his marriage and eventually it resulted in him sharing his unhappiness with both Mattie and Zeena.
Ethan Frome is introduced as a man who is battered and withering. Upon going into his backstory, we discover his true self. A man who is in a marriage with a woman he has little to no feelings for, Zeena. Mattie Silver is the new woman who he has his eyes on and for her he sacrifices everything but just saves enough to withhold his integrity and obligation. But by withholding these things solely because he is afraid of what Starkfield, his hometown, will think of him, he makes his actual sacrifice. By not following through with his passion with Mattie Silver, he sacrifices the freedom, happiness, and life he sought. In the end he just ends up in the same situation he began.
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.
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
"Domesticity in the abstract did not interest her"(18). In this quote Edith Whartons life and outlooks on the world within the novel Ethan Frome are perfectly encapsulated. Although Whartons novels typically surrounded upper class New York society, Ethan Frome was out of sorts for author Edith Wharton; taking place on a poor mans farm in the outskirts of New York. Despite the difference of social upbringing, Wharton is able to mirror her emotional turmoil witnessed throughout Ethan Frome. Wharton also conveys her criticism of society's expectations for a happy life. Wharton reflects the hardships of her unloving marriage and search for a fulfilling love while revealing how the choice between passion and morality
In Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton utilizes a broken pickle dish, to represent the views of espousement, and the representation of their varied human actions. Ethan and Zeena Frome’s marriage represents a union based on obligation rather that love. Throughout the story, Ethan is a weak and submissive husband under the control of a domineering wife. Unfortunately with this type of relationship, a goal of happiness cannot be achieved or
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
Ethan’s farmhouse has always been home to loneliness. An example of this is the relationship Ethan had with his mother. Ever since she got sick, she stopped talking with Ethan, and Ethan began to feel lonely. “His mother had been a talker in her day, but after her "trouble" the sound of her voice was seldom heard, though she had not lost the power of speech.” (Chapter IV) Ethan’s heartache is the only reason he ever fell in love with and married Zeena. This same process repeated with Zeena. When she got sick, he began to feel lonely and fell in love with Mattie. This also would not have happened if Zeena didn’t get sick and stop talking with Ethan.
“Is fate getting what you deserve, or deserving what you get?” (Jodi Picoult). Ethan Frome, written by Edith Wharton in 1911, embodies this quote. In Ethan Frome, all three main characters, Ethan, Mattie and Zeena have made decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. Ethan and Mattie had an inappropriate relationship behind Ethans significant other, Zeena 's, back which caused each of them to be emotionally distraught. Mattie, Zeena and Ethan were all responsible for their own actions which resulted in them getting what they deserved.
In Edith Wharton's famous book Ethan Frome, main character, Ethan Frome’s story is a personal tragedy. His own decisions he makes are his own fault. But what is his tragedy? Well, to a certain understanding, his tragedy is that in the present day, he is always dreary and not as happy as he could have turned out; in other words, one could say that his tragedy is that he is unsuccessful in happiness. Although one may argue that the tragedy wasn’t all Ethans fault, and that the weather of new england caused it, that certainly isn’t true. Ethan’s bad choices of leaving school, feeling lonely and marrying Zeena and then also being avoidant when he wants to leave her. Obviously, Ethan Frome’s tragedy is all caused by his personal decisions.
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
From great risk, some fortunate few are able to reap the benefits. The title character of Edith Wharton’s “Ethan Frome” often toys with this notion but reaches an inability to act. With nothing risked there is nothing gained, effectively preventing his life from moving forward or backwards. Furthermore, risk does not always yield change, as sometimes the change is the risk, a deviation from the normality of one’s life. Ethan’s inability to take risks keeps his life stagnant, immune to change like a decomposed corps in a grave.
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 by Edith Wharton is a story that is much more than meets the eye. Wharton’s novel is a tragic tale of a man who marries on a whim and years later falls in love with another, that particular other being his wife’s cousin and handmaid. This tale ends with an “accident” gone wrong, and the three are almost trapped in their home forever (Wharton 74-77). Throughout the story, Wharton uses symbolism to give the story so much meaning. Wharton includes symbolism within her setting, objects and their colors, and her characters.