Ethan Frome, By Edith Wharton Essay

1228 Words Oct 8th, 2016 5 Pages
“I simply felt that he lived in a depth of moral isolation ... the profound accumulated cold of many Starkfield winters...”(Wharton 5). In Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome, Ethan Frome, the dynamic protagonist, rediscovers a personality long lost from something that can only be described as purgatory on earth. Living with his wife, Zeena, Ethan Frome is shown as “...the most striking figure in Starkfield”(Wharton 1), and the husband of a cold, heartless hypochondriac. Ethan Frome is shown as a normal person living in the cold, isolated town of Starkfield and is forced to struggle between loving another woman or his wife. At the end of the novel, Ethan is changed into the wreck of a man we see in the prologue, a faint memory of what he once was, a “...ruin of a man...” (Wharton 1). Before the series of unfortunate events that were bound to ruin Ethan’s life, Ethan was a young, married man living with a sickly wife and her cousin, Mattie. In the beginning chapters, Ethan Frome is seen as a shy, envious man. In chapters one and two, Ethan Frome is meant to take home Mattie Silver, his wife’s cousin. “ A hopeful young life was like the lighting of a fire on a cold hearth” (Wharton 23). This direct quote from the novel gives an amazing metaphor to describe Mattie’s arrival to Starkfield, as Mattie is one of the sole reasons Ethan Frome is considered an anti-hero. Edith Wharton purposely forces Zeena to be an unattractive woman, to keep the reader sympathizing for Ethan and so that…

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