Ethan From Psychological Analysis Essay, Research Paper
Ethan Frome Project: Psychological Analysis
Narrator: The narrator of the story is a simple man who tries to take on an almost futile task. This is an almost futile task because the townspeople such as Ned Hale and Ruth Varnum do not like to talk about Frome. The townspeople do not avoid the subject of Frome due to disapproval, but rather a sense of such extreme sadness that it is difficult to speak about. This task is to find out about Ethan Frome’s past. More specifically the narrator wants to discover what events led up to Frome’s tragic present condition. “All the dwellers in Starkfield, as in more notable communities, had troubles enough of their own to make them comparatively indifferent to those of their neighbors; and though all conceded that Ethan Frome’s had been beyond the common measure, no one gave me an explanation of the look in his face which, as I persisted in thinking, neither poverty nor physical suffering could have put there.” Early in the book the narrator concludes from looking at his face that Ethan’s tragedy was more complex than a simple accident. The narrator knows that Ethan is miserable on an emotional level. This fascinates the narrator and drives him to research Frome. One of the townspeople named Mrs. Hale is willing to talk about Frome to the narrator. She tells him of how Ethan fell in love with Mattie. In addition she tells him the little changes that happened to Ethan like shaving and caring more about his appearance, his first fight with Zeena, and his effervescent attitude about his desire to commit adultery. ” ;and the way they are now, I don’t see’s there’s much difference between the Fromes up at the farm and the Fromes down in the graveyard; ‘cept that down there they’re all quiet , and the women have got to hold their tongues.” In the end Mrs. Hale sitting with the narrator and Ruth Varnum explains Frome’s story after so many years of keeping quiet about it. Not only did she tell the narrator because he asked but also because she waited for years someone like him to see what she had seen. So the narrator successfully completed his task but there is no sense of accomplishment. Instead the content of the leaves the same sense of shock in the narrator.
Ethan Frome: Ethan Frome is a tragic hero who alike all tragic heroes has a tragic flaw. His flaw is strictly a psychological problem, which prevents him from doing things that he feels out of instinct. Ethan has the insane notion that he is “trapped”. Even when he has a loving wife and works a job that provides for the both of them. Ethan left school to take care of sick parents. He hired a hypochondriac named Zeena to help take care of his parents who eventually die. At this point in the story Ethan is very sad. Out of loneliness he marries Zeena. Ethan was not against marrying Zeena but his flaw hinders him from preventing it. Then when Zeena’s niece, Mattie comes to live with the Fromes to take care of Zeena Ethan makes a mistake. He falls in love with Mattie. Ethan feels this is his only chance at true happiness and does not want lose it by any means. Thus makes the mistake of pursuing this love. “Denis Eady! If that’s all, I guess there’s no such hurry to look round for a girl.” One of the first signs that Ethan loves Mattie is his jealousy of Denis Eady, a rich Irish grocer in Starkfield who wants to marry Mattie. Ethan begins to ignore Zeena and then compare all her faults as opposed to all of Mattie’s qualities he likes. Ethan also begins to ignore Zeena and then compare all her faults as opposed to all of Mattie’s qualities he likes. “She had taken everything else from him; and now she meant to take the one thing that made up for all the others. For a moment such a flame of hate rose in him that it ran down his arm and clenched his fist against her. He took a wild step forward and then stopped.” Then Ethan resents Zeena and finally abhors her to the point where he considers harming his own wife. The fact that she wants to send Mattie away is the driving force behind his rage. This rage almost caused Ethan to do something completely out of character but his tragic flaw does not permit him to do so. In the end Ethan and Mattie have the “smash up” which is a sledding accident with disastrous results. Ethan is left “warped” on his right side and Mattie is paralyzed. Zeena ends up taking care of them. It need not be said that Ethan has problems that cannot be solved now, only problems that could have been prevented. However his present problems could only be prevented if his psychological flaws had been corrected earlier.
Zeena: Zeena Frome is a middle-aged hypochondriac and the wife of Ethan Frome. When she requires assistance for her “illnesses” she sends for her niece, Mattie Silver. Her husband, Ethan later falls in love with Mattie. Inadvertently, Zeena allows this to happen. “The doctor says it’ll be my death if I go on slaving the way I’ve had to. He doesn’t understand how I’ve stood it as long as I have.” She becomes enthralled with her sickness. Zeena is preoccupied with her condition and does not notice Ethan and Mattie falling in love under the same roof. “Zeena laughed. It was an odd familiar sound-he did not remember ever having heard her laugh before. “You didn’t suppose I was going to two girls, did you? No wonder you were scared at the expense!” Zeena is always concerned with medicines and so much so that she is willing to turn away her own niece to hire a servant girl. She even forgets to leave the spare key out for Ethan and Mattie one night, leaving them out in the cold. Zeena is for the most part a little selfish and neglecting. But these are miniscule mistakes when compared to Ethan and Mattie’s secret love affair. The victim of the situation is somewhat obvious. Zeena is really a good wife who obeys her husband and had nothing but misguided intentions.