Ethan Frome Essay, Research Paper
Ethan Frome was the most striking figure in Starkfield. He had great height and a look of careless power. A shock of light hair grew from his lean head, and his face was bleak and unapproachable. A "smash-up" in the past shortened his right side and caused him to walk doubled-over with a limp. Ethan was stiffened and grizzled like an old man, even though he was young. Frome would appear almost barbaric in your first glance at him. For this reason he was ostracized, isolated, and withdrawn in the town of Starkfield.
Ethan was very punctual, he would walk to the post office the same time each day. He was not communicative, when he spoke, he often answered in a low tone or monosyllables. Yet his silence was not unfriendly. He was simple and straightforward, kind and thoughtful.
Frome was a poor man with barely enough to support his family, probably because he quit college his first year when his father died. His father and mother both had health problems, and his wife, Zeena, was a hypochondriac, which gives me reason to believe that his mother also may have been a hypochondriac. Ethan?s relationship with his wife was lacking due to a lack of communication, and Zeena ran his wallet dry looking for the newest stomach powder (pills), and medicine that she could find.
Before the "smash up," Ehtan began questioning his love for Zeena when her relative, Mattie, showed up to assist Zeena around the house. Frome began to fall in love with Mattie from the moment he layed eyes on her. Mattie having came into Ethan?s life, Frome began to take more pride in his appearance. He began to bathe and shave every day. When Zeena leaves town to see a new doctor, Ethan really gets to know Mattie and they begin to express each others thoughts. To Ethan, Mattie was the only person that understood everything he said about natural beauty. When his wife returns, she said that she needed a new helper and that she was sending Mattie back. Both Ethan and Mattie did not want to part, so while Ethan was taking her to the train station, they decided to go coasting (something they had wanted to do together for a while). They got thinking that they wanted to be together always and that they should take their lives by hitting a tree. They followed through with the plan, and neither one died. This is known as the "smash up" which caused Ethan to go lame.
In my opinion the people in Starkfield have not shunned Ethan. It was Ethen who has isolated himself and brought on ostracization due to his own personal anguish. Before the accident he was very kind and generous. I feel that he still was after the wreck, however he has chosen to live in his distress, probably because he felt censurable about Mattie?s condition. Ethen is the most symbolic figure in the book, delineating many things especially love and confusion. Ehtan Frome is a very salient character as depicted by Edith Wharton.