Ethan Frome Character Analysis

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Asef Rahman English 10H 10/15/2012 Ethan Frome: a lonely man indeed The novel, Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton, is a story about Ethan, a man torn between the moral obligations to his wife, Zeena, and his need for a person to love. The author’s use of foreshadowing, metaphors, imagery and motifs vividly convey the overall message that man cannot simply live alone and needs somebody in his life. He has Zeena but he does not converse with her at all. The fact that Starkfield was a depressing place to live did not help his life either. Although Ethan’s overall nature was damaged by the smash up, his time spent in Starkfield had caused his overall melancholy demeanor and left him feeling isolated. Ethan’s life is governed by women from the start.…show more content…
Ethan is influenced by his grim surroundings and becomes a bitter, melancholy man. A lot of his sad nature has to do with his surroundings, as the barren and empty characteristics of Starkfield have forced Ethan to become bitter and pitiful. At the beginning of the story the narrator clearly states Starkfield’s influence on Ethan’s appearance: “He seemed a part of the mute melancholy landscape, an incarnation of its frozen woe, with all that was warm and sentient in him fast bound below the surface; but there was nothing unfriendly in his silence. I simply felt that he lived in a depth of moral isolation too remote for casual access, and I had the sense that his loneliness was not merely the result of his personal plight, tragic as I guessed that to be, but had in it, as Harmon Gow had hinted, the profound accumulated cold of many Starkfield winters.” (Wharton 13) A character’s attributes depend on the location he grows up on. His face looks as gloomy as the night, cheerless and bleak. Starkfield makes him look as if he has nothing else to live for. Even after the smash-up, Ethan’s life is no different: “There was one day, about a week after the accident, when they all thought Mattie couldn’t live. Well, I say it’s a pity she did …. if she’d ha’ died, Ethan might ha’ lived; and the way they are now, I don’t see’s there’s much difference between the Fromes up at the farm and the Fromes down in the graveyard; ’cept that down there they’re all quiet, and the women have got to hold their tongues.” (Wharton 157) Ethan’s life is actually worse after the smash-up than before. Now that both women are under the same roof, they scream, curse and shout at each other and poor Ethan has to go through with it day after day. Ethan’s inner feelings are also affected, such as him feeling trapped, his lack of courage and his isolation; each being

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