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.
Ethan Frome is a novel published in 1911 written by Edith Wharton. In this novel a man named Ethan Frome, who is married to Zenobia Frome, falls in love with another woman named Mattie Silver. Mattie is a bright light in Ethan’s dark life. Wharton utilizes symbolism to create emotion and meaning throughout the story. She uses objects, numbers, and the setting to shed light on the various elements of the story that she deems important.
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
The classic novel, Ethan Frome, wrote by Edith Wharton, contains a great deal of symbolism. Throughout the story, Wharton recognizes a large Elm tree that nearly kills a newly- engaged couple. In most cases, a large tree may symbolize strength or majesty, however, Wharton gives the readers an understanding of fate., when describing the tree. While coasting down a slope, Ethan and Mattie make the immoral decision to commit suicide and crash into the large tree. Ironically, the end result was not their death, but the tragic ending of the two becoming crippled which robbed them the outcome they wanted.
Throughout the romantic struggle, Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome sacrifices himself to be happy with Mattie Silver but in the process he paves his path towards infinite limbo. 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.
Wharton’s Ethan Frome uses Ethan Frome to demonstrate how sexual maturation and the development of a sexual identity can be stunted by circumstance. The use of imagery, symbolism, and language in Wharton’s novel emphasize Frome’s sexual inhibition and his development of sexual feelings because of Mattie. Frome’s natural reticence combined with familial tragedy at a young age prevented Frome from developing a strong sexual identity (Farland, 718). When Frome is with Mattie at Shadow Pond, he wants to express his feelings for her, but he “had never learned to say such things,” which is an indication of how he is insecure in his sexuality (Wharton, 135). Additionally, Frome’s marriage to Zeena further stunts his sexual development, as their marriage
Edith Wharton powerfully conveys his thoughts through the constant use of literary devices, detailed descriptions, and strong vocabulary. The novel possesses a central theme of desire and awe toward the characters and their nature. The novel Ethan Frome is a Wharton conveys the desire Ethan has for Mattie within the first chapter of the book “like a window that has caught the sunset”. Here Wharton speaks of Mattie, through the use of similes.
Who’s to blame for Ethan Frome In the book “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton we see the main characters involved in a tragedy that has lifelong effects. The person to blame in this tragedy is Ethan Frome. Ethan Frome is to blame in this tragedy because he let love manipulate his judgment. If Ethan Frome was mentally strong enough to speak on his feelings with the woman he loved and his wife maybe the tragedy would’ve never happen.
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.”
In everyday life, people are put under many pressures and are expected to be perfect to society. In Edith Wharton’s, best-known and most popular novel, Ethan Frome, this idea is highlighted, showing the protagonist’s breakdown. Ethan Frome struggles against the rules of society and his duty to his family, fighting a battle within himself between what he wants in order to be happy and what he feels he must do to satisfy his family and society. Frome struggles between his desire for his wife’s cousin, Mattie, and his sense of duty toward Zeena, his wife. The pressures that come from the responsibilities in the Frome household lead to Ethan Frome’s emotional breakdown, showing how societal pressures can lead to harmful self-doubt.