Chapter 1 Author's Note I had known something of New England village life long before I made my home in the same county as my imaginary Starkfield; though, during the years spent there, certain of its aspects became much more familiar to me. Even before that final initiation, however, I had had an uneasy sense that the New England of fiction bore little- except a vague botanical and dialectical- resemblance to the harsh and beautiful land as I had seen it.
We are neither affiliated with the author of this essay nor responsible for its content. Ethan Frome is a story of ill-fated love, set during the winter in the rural New England town of Starkfield.
Ethan is a farmer who is married to a sickly woman named Zeena. The two live in trapped, unspoken resentment on Ethan's isolated and failing farm. Ethan has been caring for his wife for six years now.
Due to Zeena's numerous ailments they employ her cousin, the animated Mattie Silver, to help in the house. This resentment leads to Ethan and Mattie in turn, falling in love. However, they never follow their love due to Ethan's morals and the respect he has for his marriage to Zeena.
Ethan eagerly awaits the nights when he is able to walk Mattie home from the town dances. He cherishes the ground she walks on and would do anything for her. After a visit to the doctor, Zeena is told that she needs more appreciable hired help. Thus, she decides to send her incompetent cousin away and hire a new one.
Ethan and Mattie are desperate to stay together. When the two are unable to find any plausible solutions to this issue, Ethan and Mattie decide to commit suicide by sledding into a tree. They figure it is the only way they can be together. The attempt fails, and the two are left paralyzed.
Now Ethan's wife must care for the two for the rest of their lives.
There were many themes found in Ethan Frome, but the greatest of them all is loneliness and isolation. In college Ethan acquired the nickname "Old Stiff" because he rarely went out with the boys. Once he returned to the farm to care for his parents, he couldn't go out with them even if he wanted to.
Whatever he's done has kept him apart from others: Ethan's isolation is intensified, because he is often tongue-tied. He would like to make contact with others but can't. For example, when he wants to impress Mattie with beautiful words of love, he mutters, "Come along.
For years, Zeena rarely leaves the house. She's consumed by her illness. Mattie, on the other hand, seeks refuge from loneliness at the Fromes' farm.
A year later she chooses to die rather than return to a world of solitude.
Edith Wharton uses characters such as Mattie, to express the theme of loneliness and isolation. Mattie Silver is unlike any of the other characters in Ethan Frome. The town of Starkfield is very colorless and dull. When Mattie enters she is wearing bright clothing and ribbons tied in her hair.
From her first appearance, the reader becomes aware that Mattie is very different from Ethan's wife. Of all the characters in this novel, Mattie is the most tragic. She was so energetic and full of life that she wanted to free Ethan from this terrible society he lived in.
She suggested suicide as a means of escape for the two of them. When the attempt failed, she became paralyzed. She is now stuck in the cold, colorless, world of Starkfield which unto itself is extremely tragic and ironic.When Edith Wharton's novel "Ethan Frome" was first published in , reviews were largely negative.
Critics called the story cruel and violent and sales of the novel were dismal. Today, Edith Wharton's haunting tale of forbidden romance in a rural New England town is her most widely read novel. Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome: Character Ethan Frome, the main character in the book entitled Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton, has many complex problems going on at the same time.
His family has died and he has a wife that is continually sick, and the only form of happiness he has is from his wife’s cousin Mattie. Mar 26, · retreating to the corners of one’s mind comes easily, particularly when living an isolated life on the outskirts of town, as Ethan does in Edith Wharton’s novel Ethan Frome.
Wharton uses characters and symbols to illustrate how one uses illusion to cope with isolation. First published in , Ethan Frome is widely regarded as Edith Wharton's most revealing novel and her finest achievement in fiction.
Set in the bleak, barren winter landscape of New England, it is the tragic tale of a simple man, bound to the demands of his farm and his tyrannical, sickly wife, Zeena, and driven by his star-crossed love for /5(). Written by Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome is set in Massachusetts and is representative of the transition of thought from rigid Victorian mores to the more romantic notions of the industrial era that was blossoming in the United States.
As what has been termed a "study in frustration, loneliness, and moral responsibility," Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome presents several conflicts for Ethan Frome, both internal and external: External.