Ethan Frome Character Analysis

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Sweeping POV: The Reason Behind The Three Narrators The title character from Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome is an enigma. His memory of when he visited Florida (the one time he actually left Starkfield) is buried under the monotonous experience of dealing with the snow year in and year out. When an unnamed engineer stays in town due to a union strike, he asks around and finds out bits and pieces of Frome’s life out of curiosity. Two important people he asks are Harmon Gow and Mrs. Hale. They’re important because they have an insight into Frome’s life that he doesn’t, yet he also has a college education, thus possibly having an insight that they don’t. With the introduction of the three characters, Wharton sets up the three possible narrators …show more content…
Despite how he leads the engineer to wondering which obstacles prevented Ethan from leaving, his limited knowledge has another effect on the story. The effect is that there are many “gaps between the facts, and [the engineer] had the sense that the deeper meaning of the story was in the gaps” (2). There are two effects of Harmon’s limited knowledge: the fact that it leads to the engineer wondering why Ethan didn’t leave and the fact that it leads to the engineer wanting to fill in the gaps. One way he’s able to fill in these gaps is to talk to someone more knowledgeable, such as Mrs. …show more content…
Although Ethan does have physical and emotional troubles, the Engineer knows that Ethan’s main problem is intellectual. This gives the Engineer a more complete idea of Ethan’s story. Even though the Engineer is making up most of the story, the idea that Ethan Frome wants to improve himself intellectually is shown by the fact that he read the Engineer’s popular science literature. He knows that he did not know some of the things in the book and even admitted that science “used to” interest him (6). The Engineer thus found out something about Ethan Frome that Harmon Gow and Mrs. Hale could not, due to his

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