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.
Zenobia Frome, wife of the titular character of Edith Wharton’s novel Ethan Frome, is not a pleasant woman. In a passionless marriage, Zeena attempts to maintain control over her husband even when not present, while Ethan explores a budding relationship between himself and their hired girl, Zeena's cousin, Mattie Silver. Wharton explores the consequences of an unhealthy relationship lacking in love and passion though the symbolism of the Fromes’ cat and the red glass pickle dish.
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 novel Ethan Frome, written by Edith Wharton, Ethan, the main protagonist, encounters numerous challenges relating to his love life, social life, and personal life. Ethan’s actions could be analyzed through his decision-making process and used to display him as a self-reliant man. Self-reliance can be defined using criteria laid out by Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American transcendentalist philosopher, in his essay, “Self-Reliance”. Emerson writes about a checklist containing four primary attributes of a self-reliant person. The first necessary characteristic of a self-reliant person is the ability to exclusively fight for causes which s/he believes in. Secondly, one cannot be self-reliant if s/he is afraid of contradicting her/himself. Additionally,
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.
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.
Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome, and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening are novels that represent the traps that society has set forth for them. In both novels, suicide is seen as the only way to escape from their constricted circumstances in which these people are expected to live in. The Frome’s and The Pontellier’s have very similar circumstances, such as blaming each other for their problems, and having marriage’s which they are not happy in. “Her marriage to Leonce Pontellier was purely an accident, in this respect resembling many other marriages which masquerade as the decrees of Fate.” (29, Chopin)
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.
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.
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
Can you recognize symbolism when you see it and understand the meaning and purpose behind it? In Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, written in 1911, the pickle dish symbolizes Ethan and Zeena’s marriage. There are three reasons that this dish symbolizes marriage: 1. The pickle dish is kept up high on the shelf and is not supposed to be touched, 2. Mattie is panicked and worried when the pickle dish is knocked over and destroyed by the cat, and 3. Ethan is trying to figure a way out to repair or get a new pickle dish. Each of these represent different parts of Ethan and Zeena’s marriage and the relationship between the three characters.
Ethan’s initial response is to attempt to simply piece back the pickle dish with glue. The use of glue or “the easy route” to fix the broken pickle dish so Zeena won’t discover the accident, symbolizes Ethan’s thought process to try repairing their loveless relationship. Furthermore, Ethan is afraid to even tell Zeena that the dish has broken which shows the lack of communication and understanding in their relationship. Zeena’s response is much more dramatic, by intensely accusing Mattie of not only breaking her most prized possession, but also threatening her husband and their marriage. Zeena’s anger and resentment over the broken pickle dish actually illustrates her sorrow over her broken and unfulfilling marriage. Both Zeena and Ethan have varying responses, however both showing some commitment to repair their union.
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
Forcing Mattie to leave is Zeena’s desperate attempt at solving the love triangle. Zeena hoped that Mattie leaving would guide Ethan and Zeena back to their original relationship without distractions. However, Zeena could not have anticipated that the lovers’ prospective separation is needed for them to confess their feelings for each other and the culmination of the painful saga. The story comes to a climax when Mattie says “we’d never have to leave each other any more” referring to their suicide and unity in death (Wharton 63). Ethan agrees to her solution and the problem of their living apart is solved. However, Wharton does not leave the reader without another question and alternative answer. Despite Mattie’s passionate insistence that death is the only remedy, Wharton is clearly claiming through Frome’s rational consideration of divorcing his wife is the rational alternative to