Ethan Frome Essay, Research Paper
Failure is a part of everyone’s life. Every person who has ever lived on the face of this earth has failed at something at one time or another. Even those people who are mainly successes in life have had, at least, small failures. How we deal with failure and try to over come it and learn from it helps make us who we are. A good example of failure shaping someone’s life is in the novel written by Edith Wharton entitled: Ethan Frome. Ethan Frome, the main character in the novel by Edith Wharton, had many complex problems going on at the same time, His mother has died and he has a wife that is continually sick, and the only form of happiness he has is from his wives’s cousin Mattie. This, however, at times proves to be hard because of Ethan’s wives interference. Nothing Seems to ever be going in Ethan’s favor. The first time Ethan failed, in my opinion, is when he married Zeena. He married her because she had tried to help his mother recover from an illness, and once his mother died he could not bear the thought of living in the house alone. His wife was seven years older than he was and always seemed to have some kind of illness. It seemed all she ever did was complain, and he resented this because it stifled his growing soul. Since his wife was continuously ill, and her cousin needed a place to stay, they took her in to help around the house. Almost immediately Ethan took a liking to her cousin Mattie, because she brought a bright light upon his dismal day. He seemed to have found someone that cared for him, was always happy and could share his youth, unlike his sickly wife who always nagged him. He longed to be with Mattie. However, he had loyalty to his wife. Throughout Ethan’s marriage, he never stood up against his wife. His wife claimed that a new doctor said that she was extremely sick (I think the doctor meant sick in the head) and needed more help around the house. She told him without any discussion that Mattie had to go. Ethan could not find the words to make her alter her decision. Ethan was the Bread winner and the man of the house, and in that period in time he should have had the final say, yet Zeena still was able to kick out Mattie. Through the novel, the author states “Now she had mastered him and he obeyed her.”, Zeena had Ethan eating out of her sick little hand.
Ethan’s last failure was the way he modified his and Mattie’s’s lives regarding the sled accident. He so desperately wanted to run away with Mattie, but he could not because his practical sense told him it was not feasible to do so. Mattie wanted so desperately to be with Ethan, That she suggested in order to stay together forever, they should die together. It was Ethan’s job to steer into the tree with the sled so that it looked like an accidental death instead of suicide. Instead of running square into the tree, he did not hit the tree right and it did not kill either of them. Instead it crippled both of them, and their injuries stayed with them for the rest of their lives. With all the incidents that happened it seemed inevitable that his life would always be a string of failure. Maybe if he would have just learned from his failures he might have changed his life. In the end he only hurt the woman he loved and made the one who he disliked happy. Although not many people fail at everything they do, like poor Ethan, failure is still a part of everyone’s lives. Even f we try our hardest at something, there isn’t a 100% chance that we will succeed at it. It is just an aspect of life that we have to learn to cope with.