Ethan Frome Character Development

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Ethan Frome’s Development as a Character Throughout the story “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton, the characters go through terrible experiences causing them to drastically change. The story is about a man who is depressed which caused him to marry his wife, Zeena. They got married out of loneliness rather than love. Zeena becomes ill and has her cousin, Mattie Silver, come to help around the house. When Ethan spots Mattie he falls deeply in love with her and knows that she is the one for him. Throughout the rest of the story Ethan tries to gain Mattie’s love. Ethan knows that it is wrong for him to try and gain Mattie’s love because he is married but this problem causes him to face many challenges throughout the story. Ethan Frome has many…show more content…
Some of these unlikable characteristics are betrayal, suicidal, and dishonest. Ethan Frome shows the characteristics of betrayal and dishonesty when dealing with Mattie Silver. Ethan betrays his wife by falling in love with Mattie. Ever since Mattie showed up at his house he has been getting closer with her. At one point in the story Frome kisses Mattie. This shows the ultimate betrayal. Once he kisses Mattie it is considered cheating on his wife. “What is it-what is it? She stammered; but he had found her lips at last and was drinking unconsciousness of everything but the joy they gave him.” (Pg 67) At this point, Mattie and Frome finally enjoy their first kiss. This time, Frome does not contemplate about the negatives of kissing her and goes through with it. Ethan Frome shows the characteristic of dishonesty when he lies to Zeena and tells her that he cannot take her to the train station. In reality, Frome was able to go the train station with Zeena he just chooses to stay home with Mattie. Frome tells Zeena that he has to collect money, which is why he cannot go with her. “I’d take you over myself, only I’ve got to collect the cash for the lumber” (Pg 39) Even though Ethan was dishonest here, he still felt bad about lying. Another negative characteristic of Frome is he being suicidal. Towards the end of the story, Mattie and Frome decide to run away together. Mattie decides that the only way they could live in peace is if they die together. Ethan agrees with Mattie and they decide to go through with a suicide attempt. “She put her lips close against his ear to say: “Right into the big elm. You said you could. So ‘t we’d never have to leave each other any more”” (Pg 90) Mattie and Frome proceed with their suicide attempt except they failed. They got terribly injured but they did not die. They were very
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