Plot[ edit ] The novel is framed by the literary device of an extended flashback.
Excerpt from Research Paper: 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 behave according to the moral code was great and few were brave enough to contradict them. In Edith Wharton'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 was akin to murder. In the story Wharton is making the statement that adherence to the social order of the period will only lead to personal unhappiness and entrapment in a life of misery.
The two women in Ethan's life, his wife Zenobia or Zeena as she is frequently referred, and her young cousin Mattie with whom he believes himself to be in love. Through the story's plot, it becomes evident that these two very different women are not merely individual characters and that Ethan is not just a conflicted man, but that the three characters function as symbols of the dangers of socially unacceptable behavior and the possibility for happiness if a person chooses to commit them.
Zenobia, being the proper wife, is a symbol of fidelity and Victorian appropriateness although she is a highly disagreeable woman with an unpleasant personality and Mattie, with her dancing and suggestions of suicide, is symbolic of social taboos and their danger to the physical body as well as to the soul.
Sin and passion which may seem exciting and invigorating, but are actually fleeting in their charm and will only lead to trouble in the Victorian view of life. From the perspective of the modern period, neither woman is wholly appealing because neither is a fully fleshed out character. They are symbols of a type of woman and are therefore never completely human.
Zenobia Pierce was the logical choice for Ethan when he came of age to marry. She had nursed his mother during the final days of her life and had taken care of the household chores on the Frome farm as well.
Unwilling to work the farm alone, he took a wife who had proven herself physically able to be of help to her husband. There was no romance in the union, but instead it was a match made out of sensible arguments.
Although having little humor and a sickly disposition, the society in which the characters live would say that Zeena is the better woman when comparing her with her young cousin. She is industrious, hardworking, and does her best to be productive despite her failing health which worsens over time which leads to further complaints and demands to be taken care of.
As Wharton explains the relationship, "Sickness and trouble: In his marriage to Zeena, Ethan Frome behaves as a good and proper man.
He works hard both on the family farm and in business as well. Author Suzanne Fournier makes the point that Zeena is as unfulfilled in her marriage to Ethan as he is with the marriage Since she is a Victorian woman, her major goal in life was to get married and to be a dutiful wife and to not venture outside of the home.
The only chance she had in life was in getting married and being over thirty-five she was already considered an old maid, her prospects not helped any by her old appearance and habits Pennell She is in a prison of marriage as much as the male character.
Ethan married Zeena for the sake of companionship and to help him work, not for love and has consequently come to dislike her, but he stays because that is what he knows he must do according to society."Ethan Frome" wonderfully tells the story that Edith Wharton meant to in her novel.
Outstanding acting and beautiful camera work make "Ethan Frome" a deeply moving film. Those who read the book will be mystified by the superiority of the movie over the novel.
Ethan Frome Analysis In Edith Wharton’s novel Ethan Frome, setting is an important element. The setting greatly influences the characters, transportation, and activities. The setting takes place in a small town called “Starkfield”. Setting Analysis of Ethan Frome By: Mary Thompson Ethan Frome Analysis In Edith Wharton’s novel Ethan Frome, setting is an important element.
The setting greatly influences the characters, transportation, and activities. character analysis Ethan Frome He dreams of escaping the dreariness of his farm and leading a life outside of Starkfield; he also dreams of having Mattie for his wife.
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.
Ethan Frome is a novel told in flashbacks by an unnamed narrator who recounts his experiences with the title character, an ambitious and driven man plagued by bad fortune.
Ethan's home life is tense. He falls in love with his housemaid as his wife, Zenobia, becomes sicker and sicker.