Theme Of Naturalism In Ethan Frome

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Naturalism is a type of literature that attempts to apply scientific principles of objectivity and detachment to its study of human beings. Naturalism took place from 1890-1915. Some characteristics of Naturalism include: Survival of the fittest, violence (force vs. force), animal imagery, determinism, and taboo topics. Also, Naturalism is aimed at the lower class and is about the darker side of life. Ethan Frome is a novel written by Edith Wharton in 1911. The novel contains multiple attributes of Naturalism. Ethan Frome contains the following characteristics of Naturalism: Survival of the fittest, determinism (natural forces), and taboo topics. Survival of the fittest was one of the main characteristics of Naturalism found in the novel Ethan …show more content…

During chapter four of Ethan Frome, Ethan has a really powerful thought. “There the silence had deepened about him year by year. Left alone, after his father’s accident, to carry the burden of farm and mill, he had no time for convivial loiterings in the village; and when his mother fell ill the loneliness of the house grew more oppressive than that of the fields. 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. Sometimes, in the long winter evenings, when in desperation her son asked her why she didn’t “say something” she would lift a finger and answer: “Because I am listening”; and on stormy nights, when the loud wind was about the house, she would complain, if he spoke to her: “They’re talking so out there that I can’t hear you.” This shows Ethan is having a very rough life because of natural forces. Later in the story, Ethan and Mattie find themselves alone again. They were going to go coasting, but it was too dark. In chapter 5 Ethan states: “No, I didn’t forget; but it’s as dark as Egypt outdoors. (Wharton 38). This quote is clearly a force of Naturalism at work. They were going to go coasting, but the force of Naturalism kicked in, and therefore, it ruined Ethan and Mattie’s plans of going

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