Ethan Frome Essay

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Ethan Frome In the novel “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton, is written by a first person narrator telling the story of Ethan, twenty-eight years old, a reserved young man who’s torn between two women: Zeena and Mattie. He is married to Zenobia Frome (Zenna), but is in love with his wife’s cousin, Mattie Silver. Zeena and Mattie are different in every aspect. Mattie is a loving, kind, lively, beautiful, young girl while Zeena is continuously sick, shrewish woman who is well matured beyond her age. Throughout the novel Ethan is continuously drawn to Mattie, as she was much more attractive and friendly than Zeena. Ordered by Zeena to send Mattie away Ethan has to make a decision; either run away with the woman he loves or stay with the miserable woman he married. Torn between the two without money and the dreadful guilt to leave the sickly woman he is bound to by vows; on the night of Mattie departure they decided to kill themselves but the plan went terribly wrong, as Mattie became cripple and Zeena “miraculously” recovered and took care of them both. In “Ethan Frome” the theme silence plays a major role when describing the three key characters as they all are encased in their own silence: Ethan silent by nature, Zeena whom fell silent and Mattie young and new to a household who fell in love and unable to express it openly. When Ethan and Zeena had first met, "Zeena's volubility was music to his ears" ( Lauer 29), after his father’s death, his mother fell sick and silent for years. "The mere fact of obeying her orders, of feeling free to go about his business again and talk with other men, restored his shaken balance magnified his sense of what he owed her" (29) shows us that having Zeena around made Ethan happy because he isn’t lonely. After all those times in silence with his mother it was good to have another person around, another voice to hear, otherwise he

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