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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 behave according to the moral code was great and few were brave enough to contradict them. In Edith harton's novel the title character feels torn between what he knows to be right according to his society which would be remaining a faithful and devoted husband, and what he most wants out of life which is passion and romantic love. He is unable to breach the social contract of a time when there were very few divorces and any impropriety…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
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 household before her time. Ethan becomes a captive of his body, and the bodies of the women around him, as he is lame and unable to die, yet despite his apparent age Ethan's physical frame is as strong as the morality of the town and religion that deems it sacrilege to say it would have been better had Mattie died. His accident was "More'n enough to kill most men. But the Fromes are tough. Ethan'll likely touch a hundred" (harton 5).…… [Read More]
Edith harton'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 harton uses this narrator to illustrate a fact about Ethan Frome's tragedy, one which suggests that the larger story here has religious implications.
It is worth noting that, although Ethan Frome is a story about adulterous love, harton deliberately makes her narrator male. Orlene Murad suggests that this is because of resemblances between Frome's story and Edith harton's own autobiography: both were married to invalids, and therefore drawn to adulterous love. harton, however, did not suffer the fate that Ethan Frome does. This explains the paradox of the novel's construction: as Murad notes, the narrator "enters Ethan's mind, expresses Ethan's thoughts…… [Read More]
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 this nature. Two of her novels, Ethan Frome and the less fictitious Summer, both have a prominent overshadow of these ingredients in them.
They are both works that depict the same basic emotions, those of love and longing due to prolonged and usually enforced abstinence of such emotion. They both depict individuals who are inarticulate and in efficient as far as the expressions of love, sorrow or misery are concerned. Also common is the factor that both these individuals,…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
Passion and Constraint in Ethan Frome
Passion and constraint are the primary motivators in a tragic love story, accentuating the lust for the forbidden, the futility in achieving that which is desired, and the tragedy of the outcome. Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton, is a tragic love story that incorporates the theme of passion and constraint, drawing the reader in as an accountable subject. The title character in Ethan Frome is the delineating figure by which his ailing wife Zenobia (Zeena) and her youthful cousin Mattie demonstrate the effects of isolation, the contradiction of youth and old age, and the consequences of desire for the purpose of influencing the reader to condone Ethan's longing to have an affair with Mattie, and thus be subject to the guilt of the tragic outcome.
oth Zeena and Mattie suffer from isolation throughout the story. Zeena's isolation is self-induced as she suffers from imagined…… [Read More]
Edith harton's Ethan Frome. You specific evidence prove thesis -- FIVE direct quotes. Use MLA format essay including citations double spaced. According Oscar ilde, "In world tragedies:, .
Edith harton'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 the story in order for them to gain a more complex understanding of what actually happened to the protagonist. The fact that the novel begins with the end of Frome's chronological experiences is intended to confuse readers and to make them feel intrigued with wanting to find out more about the central character.
To a certain degree, even with the fact that some readers might feel an early closure by acknowledging the inevitability of events occurring in the story,…… [Read More]
Ethan is now 'married' to Maggie, but not in the way he desired -- he now effectively has two wives who cannot love him or escape the family house, rather than three. The existence for all three is a miserable one, and the women suffer as much as Ethan as they battle amongst one another.
The greatest humor of the novel is exhibited when Zeena is suddenly able to find the energy to care for Mattie and Ethan, despite her protests of ill health earlier in the novel. hen forced, because of circumstances, to work (Zeena has nothing to live on, if Ethan dies) the 'angel at the hearth' is capable of toil. "here the conditions of life rendered it inevitable that all the labour of a community should be performed by the members of that community for themselves, without the assistance of slaves or machinery, the tendency has always…… [Read More]
Although he was strong, with intellectual ambitions, Ethan could not bring himself to violate social conventions as a young man. Ethan's studies were left unfinished because of his familial obligations and he never resumed them. He felt resentful at times of Mattie's youthful exuberance, as if her carefree nature and the fact that she did not feel a need to worry about what others thought and said was a reproach of his own values, the cross he chose to bear for his family and later his wife: "her [Mattie's] gaiety seemed plain proof of indifference' (harton 31). However, instead of taking logical steps to extricate himself from Zeena's grasp, and defying the norms of his society by running away with Mattie, Ethan acted impulsively. hen Mattie was about to leave his home, the two decided instead to take a suicidal sled ride into a tree. The suicide was bungled, and…… [Read More]
In this book, then, desire and lust -- and their inability to be fulfilled in any meaningful way -- lead directly and explicitly to destruction, and even a desire for destruction which is itself thwarted and seemingly unattainable in this book. The ride on the sled does not kill Ethan and Mattie, but rather renders them incapable of desire (or acting on it0, and even changes the dynamic of their relationship so significantly that desire can longer be a part of it.
The idea that desire leads to destruction is not new. But it is refreshed in The Great Gatsby and Ethan Frome, where Fitzgerald and harton show desire not only leading to destruction, but having no intrinsic value of its own along the way. In these novels, desire is not actually the double-edged sword of pleasure and destruction that it is often seen to be. The allure of…… [Read More]
construction of a person who feel disconnected from his social setting? What are the elements of a person's experiences that combine to disconnect him or her from his social environment, and create the archetype misfit? Sometimes the person's ethics create the desire within him to be separate from his social surroundings sometimes the person is thrust into a setting with which he does not share any connections. Sometimes the simple choices of the individual separate him or her form the social surroundings, and create an isolated individual who is searching for meaning, and purpose. Such is the case for the characters in Ethan Frome, and Recitatif.
In the case of Ethan Frome, to combat the silence, isolation, and loneliness in his life, he marries a woman who is dissimilar to him, names Zenobia Pierce after his mother's death. While Ethan wants to leave their home town of Starkfield, his new…… [Read More]
Gender as Performance
Theodore Dreiser's 1900 novel Sister Carrie is in style and tone in many ways radically different from Edith harton's The House of Mirth, published just five years later. And yet there is in both works a similar core, what might be called a parallel moral, for both novels explore the ways in which gender is performative in the two societies that we learn about within the world of each novel. hile, of course, in many ways gender is what we are born with, it is also just as clearly for these two writers (as it would be for any anthropologist) part of the performance of self, the way in which each person in these books presents herself or himself both to the world at large as well as internally. Both novels allows the authors to tell a compelling story while simultaneously exploring the gender roles expected of…… [Read More]