Ethan Frome 2 Essay, Research Paper
When books are made into movies many changes are made. The movie version of Ethan Frome does a descent job of turning the book by Edith Wharton into a movie. It makes many changes from the book that are necessary to turn the story into a movie.
The most obvious difference from the book is the way the narrator is handled. In the book the narrator is a man that travels to Starkfield and looks for work. In the movie the narrator is Mattie’s friend Ruth, who tells the story to Reverend Smith.
Reverend Smith moves from Boston to Starkfield to become the local preacher. Reverend Smith, shortly after moving to Starkfield, hires Ethan Frome as his driver. He does this after seeing the unfortunate condition that Ethan is in. When Reverend Smith sees no one helping Ethan, he becomes upset and considers moving back to Boston. This is when Reverend Smith is told the story of what happened to Ethan Frome. The movie version of the narrator is done well and adds a new character and more dialog to the story.
The actress portraying Zeena in the movie does a good job. The movie shows how Zeena was a kind and mild mannered woman when she was caring for Ethan’s mother. The movie also shows how Zeena turned into a bitter woman who is always worried about her health, after she marries Ethan. Zeena hardly talks, and anything she does say is a criticism of someone else. She does not come right out and say it, but Ethan and Mattie realize that they are constantly being criticized.
The most important part of the book and the movie is when Zeena goes to Bettsbridge to see another doctor. In the movie this is when Mattie and Ethan first kiss, but in the book they never kissed that night. This change was most likely made to add more to the movie because there was not much dialog in that part of the book.
When Zeena returns home Ethan finds out that she has decided to replace Mattie with a hired girl. In the book when Ethan finds this out he goes to his private room and writes a letter to Zeena telling her that he and Mattie have moved west and she can sell the farm. Ethan throws this letter away when he realizes that his plan was impossible.
In the movie when Mattie finds out about the hired girl she tries to poison herself. When Ethan must bring Mattie to the railroad station he tells her about his plan to move west with her, instead of writing the letter.
In the book and the movie Ethan and Mattie stop to go sledding. In the book Mattie proposes to Ethan that they hit an elm tree the next time down the hill, but in the movie Mattie says, “I never want to leave this hill,” which implies that they kill themselves.
The book and the movie end with a scene that shows that Zeena must take care of Mattie and Ethan, and now Mattie is bitter and needs help. The movie does a good job of showing how Mattie has aged and how she has lost her sense of life.
The book and the movie Ethan Frome have many differences, but these differences are done well for a book that contains little dialog. The atmosphere of the Ethan Frome story still remains intact, eventhough the movie is not quite as good.