Zeena In Wharton's Ethan Frome

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Zeena does not seem like a nice woman. She seems angry and insane. She is passive aggressive and only says things to get her way. Also, she uses her illness to get things she wants. Zeena makes Ethan’s life a living hell for a while. She never comes out directly and says she dislikes Mattie. Zeena will say something that may seem innocent but there is underlying meaning. She would try to get a feeling for what’s happening. During the course of Ethan Frome’s life, his wife, Zeena, plotted to intimidate and fire the house girl Mattie. Zeena may not be the most educated, but she is in no way stupid. Zeena notices changes in Ethan’s appearance and behavior so instead of saying something she becomes passive aggressive. For example, Ethan…show more content…
Zeena went so far as to go to a new doctor in a far away town. She didn’t tell him at all. He had to ask her why she was packing her bags. She responded by saying she was going to brettsbridge the next morning. Then Ethan asks why Zeena didn’t tell him and ask him to bring her (Wharton 59). She said she didn’t want to bother him and that the neighbor would bring her. She does this because she wants to keep Ethan on his toes. To top off her trip when she comes home she springs even more news on Ethan. She says “… aunt Martha found me one right off. Everybody said I was lucky to have one come out here and I agreed to give her a dollar extry to make sure. She’ll be over tomorrow afternoon (Wharton 82)”. She does not discuss getting a new girl with Ethan at all. She uses the excuse she did not want to show that they are broke because it is embarrassing. In reality, she wants to get rid of Mattie by getting the new servant. Then when they sit down for dinner Zeena needs to get her medicine. When she goes to get it she finds the pickle dish Mattie and Ethan broke the night before while having dinner. The pickle dish is a wedding present. When Zeena finds out she says “Now you’ve took from me the one I cared for most of all (Wharton 90)”. She’s not talking about the pickle dish there. She talking about Ethan. She knows the pickle dish went out to make the table more romantic for Ethan and Mattie. It becomes a symbol of Ethan’s and Zeena’s lost love. She never did come out and say that Mattie is stealing Ethan from her. Zeena is a sneaky women and will get what she
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