Ethan Frome Consider Narrator in Essay

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This is important, because it helps the reader to be able to identify and understand the emotions that main characters are feeling. As the use of these two elements are: illustrating the challenges that are being faced and the sense of frustration in not addressing them. At which point, these disappointments will affect the relationship that the different characters (throughout the novel) will have towards one another. (Wharton, 2009)

What are the forces that contribute to Ethan Frome's tragic fate? Is Edith Wharton trying to suggest that he is a man who is extremely unlucky, and is therefore destined to failure and hardship? Or is she trying to make the naturalistic case that his fate is determined by heredity and environment? Or is his fate a combination of both factors?

The forces that contribute to Ethan Frome's fate are: the inability to express his emotions to Mattie, the fear that he had of Zeena and the inability to prevent what was happening. These different elements are important, because they come together to create the tragic turn of events that would occur at the end of the novel. As Zeena decides to send Mattie away, this is out of jealousy about her becoming to close with Ethan. This would cause Ethan to become more conflicted, with him not wanting to see Mattie go and he had these pent up feelings about her. At which point, he would express his feelings to her when it is too late. This would lead to them crashing the sled into a tree and Mattie becoming paralyzed. Once this occurred, it meant that
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Zeena and Ethan would continue to care for Mattie in the years ahead. (Wharton, 2009)

On the surface, it appears as if Wharton is trying to say that Ethan was extremely unlucky and was destined to a life of hardships. Yet, when you examine this issue a little further, Ethan was a victim of his own sense of indifference. Where, he was reluctant to express his feelings to Mattie, for out of fearing of the problems that this could cause for him. At the same time, he wanted to desperately be with Mattie and go on with his life. In this aspect, Frome could have easily made the choice to change his life at any time. The problem was that he was reactive to the events and situations around him (which created the sense of helplessness / indifference). This would make the events in the novel appear to underscore bad luck and hardship (when Frome had control of them all along). At the same time, it would highlight how the environment would make Ethan indifferent about what was occurring. As he was taught to never express his emotions or thoughts over the years. When you put these different elements together, this is highlighting how the events that would take place were a combination of both factors. While also underscoring, how the lack of taking control of these events, would make the situation worse. As a result, one could argue that the issues in Frome's life were a combination of a number of incidents working together simultaneously. (Wharton, 2009)…

Sources Used in Documents:


Wharton, E. (2009). Ethan Frome. Charleston, Sc: Bibliolife.

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