Along with close friend Henry James, she helped define literature at the turn of the 20th century, even as she wrote classic nonfiction on travel, decorating and her own life.
Plot[ edit ] The novel is framed by the literary device of an extended flashback.
The prologue, which is neither named as such nor numbered, opens with an unnamed male narrator spending a winter in Starkfield while in the area on business. He spots a limping, quiet man around the village, who is somehow compelling in his demeanor and carriage. This is Ethan Frome, who is a local fixture of the community, having been a lifelong resident.
Frome is described as "the most striking figure in Starkfield", "the ruin of a man" with a "careless powerful look…in spite of a lameness checking each step like the jerk of a chain". Curious, the narrator sets out to learn about him.
Chance circumstances arise that allow the narrator to hire Frome as his driver for a week.
A severe snowstorm during one of their journeys forces Frome to allow the narrator to shelter at his home one night. We then embark on the "first" chapter Chapter Iwhich takes place twenty-four years prior.
The narration switches from the first-person narrator of the prologue to a limited third-person narrator.
Mattie is given the occasional night off to entertain herself in town as partial recompense for helping care for the Fromes, and Ethan has the duty of walking her home.
It is quickly clear that Ethan has deep feelings for Mattie. When Zeena leaves for an overnight visit to seek treatment for her various complaints and symptoms in a neighboring town, Ethan is excited to have an evening alone with Mattie.
During this evening, the narrator reveals small actions that show that they each have feelings for the other, including a lingering of touching hands on the milk jug, although neither openly declares their love. Ethan then goes into town to buy glue for the broken pickle dish, and upon his return finds that Zeena has also come home.
Zeena retreats upstairs, proclaiming her illness, and refusing supper because she is not hungry. There, she informs Ethan that she plans to send Mattie away and has already hired another girl to replace her, claiming that she needs someone more efficient because her health is failing more rapidly than ever.
Ethan is angry and frustrated to the point of panic by the thought of losing Mattie, and he is also worried for Mattie, who has no other place to go and no way to support herself in the world.
Mattie reacts with shock but rapid acceptance, trying to calm Ethan, while Ethan becomes more agitated and begins to insist that he will not let her go. Moments later, they are interrupted by Zeena, who has decided that she is hungry after all. After supper, Zeena discovers the broken pickle dish and is heartbroken and enraged; this betrayal cements her determination to send Mattie away.
Ethan, miserable at the thought of losing Mattie and worried sick about her fate, considers running away with Mattie, but he lacks the money to do so. He feels that he cannot abandon Zeena because he knows that she would neither be able to run the farm nor sell it the poor quality of the place has been discussed at several points in the story already.
Every plan he thinks of is impossible to carry out, and he remains in despair and frantically trying to think of a way to change this one more turn of events against his ability to have a happy life.
The next morning, Zeena describes her specific and imminent plans for sending Mattie on her way. Panicked, Ethan rushes into town to try to get a cash advance from a customer for a load of lumber in order to have the money with which to abscond with Mattie.
Ethan returns to the farm and picks up Mattie to take her to the train station. They stop at a hill upon which they had once planned to go sledding and decide to sled together as a way of delaying their sad parting, after which they anticipate never seeing each other again.In the novel, Feminism is established through a parallel between Edith Wharton's life and Ethan Frome, her novel.
Ethan Frome: Quarter 2 Project-Mona Mahmoud & Joseph Hess Intro to Feminism Feminism is defined as the advocacy of women's rights on .
Ethan Frome is unique among Edith Wharton’s works in that it tells the tale of an isolated drama, far from the urban and societal concerns of her longer novels. It is also distinctive in that it.
For over a decade, I’ve wanted to read Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome in the winter. I’m one of those folks who likes to time reading a book with the season in which the book .
Major themes in Ethan Frome include silence, isolation, illusion, and the consequences that are the result of living according to the rules of society. Wharton relies on . How reliable is the narrator in Edith Wharton's novel, Ethan Frome? Edith Wharton uses the narrator's sketchy account of Ethan Frome's life to generate mystery and insecurity in the story.
She uses the nameless engineer as a device to deliberately establish a feeling of uncertainty, as well as creating suspense for the reader. Thematic Analysis of Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth and Ethan Frome and “The House of Mirth”: The Themes of Loneliness, Isolation, and Silence.