Ethan Frome The Book Ethan Essay

Length: 4 pages Subject: Literature Type: Essay Paper: #99825094 Related Topics: Book, Novel, Book Review, Mind Body Connection
Excerpt from Essay :

Mattie is possibility, while Zeena is reality. When Mattie and Ethan are in danger of being parted, Zeena is the main responsible party. Both Mattie and Zeena view this as a tragic end to their relationship, and in their panic to find a solution, they reverse the trap to become prisoners of their own actions.

The second part of Chapter 9 describes the sleigh accident that resulted in the ultimate tragedy at the end of the book. Zeena had finally had enough of Mattie; a decision culminating when the latter broke one of Zeena's prized dishes. On the day of the accident, Mattie and Ethan meet in the snow to say their final goodbye, but are unable to face the end of their connection. Mattie still feels that she has nowhere to go and nothing that she could do there without Ethan. Ethan on the other hand feels that, while he is trapped by his wife, her health condition will not permit him to leave her to her own devices. Finally, they come to the conclusion that the only possible solution is to commit suicide together. This was to provide them with the freedom to be together without Zeena's constant and judgmental presence. Ethan then convinces Mattie to climb onto the sleigh with him and ride into a tree. This however ends in tragedy, as neither dies, but both are severely injured. Ultimately, both Ethan and Mattie are forced to spend their remaining days with Zeena on the farm. Mattie, being paralyzed from the neck down, has become an embittered old woman, just like Zeena, and Ethan is trapped between the two.

The outcome of the accident is both tragic and ironic. What was to be ultimate freedom became the ultimate trap. Their attempt to obtain ultimate freedom removed all possibilities of a better life or freedom for either Mattie or Ethan. Ironically, there was little to distinguish the "older" Mattie from Zeena. She had become embittered and unhappy because of her condition and her trap. Her physical disability and her proximity to Zeena had removed all joy that she derived from Ethan's presence. In turn, Ethan has also lost all the joy he once had in Mattie's presence. Both Mattie and Zeena had become his trap; a more secure trap than he had ever been subject to during his younger...


The three are therefore securely trapped on the gloomy farm by means of a decision to free all of them. It became a lifelong bondage for all of them.

In this, the representation of Zeena as the trap for Ethan and Mattie's freedom has altered. At the end of the novel, Zeena represents their home, as nothing else is left. Ethan and Mattie are forced to conform to Zeena. Indeed, their decision has turned their own bodies into traps, from which they would never be able to escape. Instead of Zeena, their trap is now represented by themselves and their own foolish decisions. Ironically, Zeena appears to refuse to die, despite her continuous emphasis on her "complications."

Throughout the novel, the reader is therefore led to believe that Ethan's freedom is represented by Mattie, while they are both trapped in their farm life by Zeena. At the end however, the author reveals that they are both trapped by themselves. Their inability to fathom a life apart, even when they write regularly to each other, leads to a foolish and self-destructive decision. Their fate at the end is indeed worse than death, where all three the characters are trapped in a life of forced and unhappy proximity.

Ironically, while Mattie once represented the joy and light in an otherwise gloomy household, she is representative of the Frome home's greatest unhappiness. When they can more her to the parlor in summer months, the author reports that it is "better." When they are all forced together for the fire in the kitchen, is when it is worst.

Finally, one might say that the decision to die did result in a type of death. Physical survival is accompanied by the death not only of love, but also of the dreams of freedom that this love promised. This reduced the two most promising characters in the novel to Zeena's level, and ultimately even lower; life was altered, but not in any…

Cite this Document:

"Ethan Frome The Book Ethan" (2010, June 14) Retrieved June 25, 2021, from

"Ethan Frome The Book Ethan" 14 June 2010. Web.25 June. 2021. <>

"Ethan Frome The Book Ethan", 14 June 2010, Accessed.25 June. 2021,

Related Documents
Ethan Frome the Story of Ethan Frome
Words: 2008 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Family and Marriage Paper #: 33578748

Ethan Frome The story of Ethan Frome is about a man in a small rural town at the turn of the twentieth century. At this time in American history, society was heavily structured and the things which were considered either morally acceptable or completely inappropriate were definite and there were serious repercussions for those who behaved in ways which were counter to society's order. Consequently, the pressure placed on people to

Ethan Frome Edith Wharton's Novel Ethan Frome
Words: 980 Length: 2 Pages Topic: Literature Paper #: 41939784

Ethan Frome Edith Wharton's novel Ethan Frome describes the tragic lives of three inhabitants of a New England town. It is told from a peculiar narrative perspective, however: the novel begins with an unnumbered chapter, told from the perspective of an unnamed first-person narrator. I hope to demonstrate that Wharton uses this narrator to illustrate a fact about Ethan Frome's tragedy, one which suggests that the larger story here has religious

Ethan Frome Consider Narrator in
Words: 1066 Length: 3 Pages Topic: Literature Paper #: 93615005

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

Ethan Frome: A Prisoner of
Words: 1208 Length: 3 Pages Topic: Literature Paper #: 37328779

Ethan becomes a caregiver, ironically, despite the weakness of his will, just like Mattie Silver, who ironically first joins the Frome household to care for Zeena becomes the physically weakest member of the household. Ethan's life is initially defined by the needs of his wife's body to the point where he becomes unnaturally submissive as a husband, just as the youthful Mattie unnaturally becomes the sickest member of the

Ethan Frome and Summer in Her Long
Words: 1754 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Literature Paper #: 21895043

Ethan Frome and Summer In her long career, which stretched over forty years and included the publication of more than forty books, Edith Wharton (1862-1937) portrayed a fascinating segment of the American experience. During the span of her literary career as an author, she conceived stories of exceptional originality and depth. Especially well versed in illustrating tales about romantic irony and how cruel little twists of fate dramatically effect circumstances of

Ethan Frome Literary Analysis
Words: 1394 Length: 5 Pages Topic: Literature Paper #: 5886340

Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome. You specific evidence prove thesis -- FIVE direct quotes. Use MLA format essay including citations double spaced. According Oscar Wilde, "In world tragedies:, . "Ethan Frome" Edith Wharton's novel "Ethan Frome" discusses with regard to ideas like the failure to achieve one's personal goals and to the risks associated with fighting for these respective goals. The book's narrator appears to be especially interested in guiding readers through