Edith Wharton is an American author of the late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries. In her novella Ethan Frome, Wharton uses symbolism to develop the theme of her story. Ethan Frome takes place in Starkfield, Massachusetts in which there's little tolerance towards sinful deeds. Around the Frome house many objects take a symbolic meaning to the importance of the story. Therefore Wharton uses much symbolism and imagery in the story to explain to the readers what is going on emotionally inside the characters and what is going to happen.
Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence offers a distinctive close examination of the Gilded Age's New York high society where critics have the opportunity to study and analyze several aspects of this exclusive American milieu, and as a result, the novel offers a glimpse of this society's social institutions of the time. In Age of Innocence, the elite of New York reside solely in their own sphere; they all live very close to one another, save for the van der Luydens, in a predetermined area, effectively shutting themselves from those outside their social circles. This isolation is shown with the uproar Ellen Olenska caused when she chose to place her home among artisans instead of other well-respected families, and it is further emphasized during
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 is an important, though neglected novelist in the history of American literature. Her novels study the status of the women and explore their relationship with men in a male dominated society. Again and again she presents the state of exceptional, rising, ‘New Woman’ of the turn of the century to break out of her compressible role and attempting a venture rebellion. The Age of Innocence is on the theme that deals ironically with the affluent social world of New York. The novel has a theme of entrapment and the struggle of the intruder, both to maintain an adult sense of self in a childish society and to rescue a trapped male from that society. The novel analyses the impact of misery and pain when society establishes the false
In Edith Wharton’s novel, Ethan Frome, setting plays an important role. The novel takes place in the fictional town of Starkfield, Massachusetts, in the winter and most likely during the early 1900s, a time better known as the Progressive Era. The Progressive Era brought about change and innovation in many areas, such as education and transportation. This change doesn’t really occur in Starkfield, however. Due to poor transportation, the residents of Starkfield become stuck during the harsh winter, and the majority of the rest of the year in this isolated town. The limited opportunities and lack of choice in Starkfield also hold the characters back, particularly Ethan. Setting influences both the characters attitude and decisions, as well as limiting their lives and the choices they make.
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
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
In Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome, Ethan Frome’s past contributes to the story more than any other character’s. The other main characters’ past may have been more difficult or life changing, but Ethan’s past definitely builds the story more. Ethan’s past builds his character more and dictates almost everything he does. This cannot be said for the other main characters in the story.
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
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.
In the prologue of Edith Wharton’s novella Ethan Frome, Wharton's style aids the characterization of Ethan Frome. The mood is dark and dreary the setting of Starkfield, Massachusetts during the winter. The sentences are long and leisurely which emphasizes the length of the New England winters. Due to the setting being in Massachusetts, Ethan Frome’s personality is reserved and reticent and he does not feel the need to have constant conversations with the narrator as he escorts him to his destinations. There is also a distinct dialect; for example, Harmon Gow, the “village orator,” pronounces “first” as “fust” and “worth” as “wust.” Like the narrator, I am fascinated with Ethan Frome and I am curious about what the “smash-up” is; I have no idea
In both novels, the Crucible and Ethan Frome, the main characters are stuck in pointless marriages, however revenge and love led the two plays into slightly different paths.
The quest for happiness can be a long and winding path. One that Ethan didn’t know where to start from, or where to go when he got on it. He struggled in making key decisions to achieve happiness for himself. Instead of choosing happiness Ethan chose to isolate himself from others and not pursue his feelings although it went against his own moral code. In the novel “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton, the title character, Ethan, immolates his euphoria so he can obtain an improved quality of life for his family and to retain a superb reputation. Wharton uses this immolation to display that one should do whatever it takes to be jubilant and not live a life of isolation.