Ethan Frome: marriage

707 Words3 Pages
Marriage Fantasy is an escape which almost everyone can exploit in times of desperation and hopelessness. However, it is not equal to the contentment that execution brings. Passage 1 is about a man that is “too young” and “too full of the sap of living” who is forced to live by the side of his wife, whom he detested, and who chooses the practical decision of staying with her than pursuing his happiness with the woman that he wishes to be with, Mattie. The author captures Ethan’s begrudging attitude towards his hopeless and detached marriage by the dejected tone, third person narrative, symbolism and the restrictive setting of the piece. The author commences with a description of Ethan’s “cold” and “dark” study. This reflects the unhappy atmosphere in the couple’s house and possibly the marriage. This is followed by the mention of another woman, Mattie. The man’s yearning for her is evident; the author signals this by describing Ethan’s “new sense of her nearness” through her letter and the description of her lively smile and her warm voice. The author is contrasting this with the unhappy life of the main character with his wife, Zeena, by saying that only “cold paper” and “dead words” are left without Mattie. The words “cold” and “dead” are reflective of his life with his wife. The author purposely ties in the pleasant words with Mattie and the displeasing words with Zeena and things associated with their life together. This is also a reflection of Ethan’s favor for Mattie as his light and an escape from his cold and dark marriage. This also provides the probability that Ethan has thought about leaving his wife in pursuit of happiness with Mattie. The third person narrative allows the reader to have an additional insight of the characters. The author in lines 14-15 asks the reader if Ethan should “wear out all his years at the side of a bitter querulous woman.”
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