Ethan Frome Essay

Topics: Morality, Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton Pages: 3 (1141 words) Published: December 9, 2013
Ethan Frome: Prisoner of Sheer Bleakness
Ethan Frome, the striking, disfigured man of Starkfield and main character of the novel Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, serves as an instance where a character has endured a significant event from the past that has affected the character in a negative way. Due to Ethan’s harsh past that led to his repression away from society and internal moral entanglement, his activities and values in life were decrepitly modified.

In the novel, certain personal circumstances surrounding Ethan Frome’s early life contribute to the outcome of his pitiful life beginning with the earliest of woeful circumstances in Ethan’s life ─his parents’ sickliness. Shortly after graduating high school, Ethan attends a university where he studies his two passions─science and technology. This event allows the reader to view one of the few positive events in Ethan’s life. After graduating he plans on escaping from Starkfield, which the reader later finds to be Ethan’s geological and personal prison, but, soon after he begins University, Ethan’s father and mother become ill. Ethan is forced to move back to the Frome’s farm due to his strong willed morals, but when his father passes away, he is forced to take care his ill mother as well. Ethan’s future wife Zeena, comes to care for his mother. This first sequence of circumstances allows the reader to view not only a glimpse of Ethan’s moral values but just how melancholic Ethan’s early personal life begins to become. His mother, being Ethan’s main source of attention and social interaction before her illness, stops talking to him and soon after dies, which leaves Zeena to be left with Ethan. Even though Zeena is viewed wicked by the reader, she is an interest to Ethan since she talks to him after his mother stopped and Ethan enjoys it. Being that it was winter, the most dreadful of seasons for Starkfield and the fact that he feels he owes her for caring for his mother, Ethan is summoned by his fear of...
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