ethan frome ap lit essay


The maid they hire is a cousin of Zeena, her name is Mattie. Zeena, Ethan Frome does not abide by the typical societal norm. Wharton not only tells an emotional story of tragic love, she brilliantly incorporates complex symbolism throughout the novella. If they leave Starkfield for another town, the climate would be better because Starkfield is cold and snowy. Zeena also doesn’t leave the house much and she’s controlling of Ethan. Using Ethan, Wharton is showing how all farmers represent this suffering laboring class that is coming to a demise by the hands of the growing bourgeoisie, which in this case is the modernizing, industrial metropolitan society. Gosh I hated that book. 1st Jan 1970 English Literature Reference this Disclaimer: This work has been submitted by a university student.

Which, is evident in the passage being he took incorrect ideas. In the end, Ethan serves as the perfect vessel to characterize the struggle of all farmers and the imminent demise by the hands of modernization. The cat serves the symbolic purpose of reminding Ethan that he is married to Zeena, and not to try to peruse a relationship with Mattie. The author, Edith Wharton, creates many restrictions that limits how much the characters do. It is evident that she had an enormous amount of resentment for her mother because of the way she misdirected Wharton’s life. The impact of her passionless marriage was strong enough that it was transferred into her writing. Published in 1911, Ethan Frome can be considered a historical document that reflects the growing ideologies that came about as a result of the Progressive Era, in which people demanded social change as a result of rapid industrialization and modernization (Kennedy, 453). This allows for a unifying element throughout the story.

While on the surface Mattie is characterized as beautify, naive, and innocent, a more in-depth analysis shows Mattie representing the stereotypic damsel who has no place in modern society where women are independent and a member of the working class.

The tragedy of Ethan Frome revolves around him, his sickly wife Zeena, and his mistress Miss Mattie Silver. He felt that he might have gone like his mother’ if the sound of a new voice had not come steady with him (Wharton 40). He sees Ethan the first time and thinks “how gallantly his lean brown head, with its shock of light hair, must have sat on his strong shoulders before they were bent out of shape.” Yet, he has nothing to base this on; he never saw Ethan before that moment and had absolutely no idea about Ethan’s former self. The winter has once again forced him to be trapped in a life he does not want due to the fact that he married Zeena after his mother died to avoid being alone during the cold winter months. It was as if Wharton was saying that since she had to go through life so did Ethan. Ethan Frome, a Study in American Qualities

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