EThan Frome by Edith Wharton - Essay Example

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EThan Frome by Edith Wharton

Their encounter ends with certain events that turn ironic. The entire story narrated by the anonymous narrator is based on the annotations he had made during his short stay at Frome’s house during the winter storm.
A literary piece captivates essentially a few essences of its time, locale and generation. Ethan Frome as a novel is not an exception in this regard. Ethan Frome contains many contemporary socio-economic and socio-political issues which appear in the novel at a repetitive interval. A few of the pertinent themes of the novel interplaying in the plot of the Ethan Frome are:
Ethan, the protagonist of the novel yearns for a woman who is not his wife. Zeena, the wife of Ethan is deliberately denied of any positive quality in the novel. On the other hand, Mattie is presented as an epitome of youth, vigour and vitality. This way Wharton affirms the point of Ethan’s cheating on his wife and presents the conventional social constrains as the poignant obstacle for the achievement of personal desire and development. This theme can be considered as the most dominant theme of the novel as well (Wharton 9).
If physical environment is perceived as a means of destiny in the novel then the climate is the eternal force that speeds up the age of the residents at Starkfield. Winter is viewed as a constant phenomenon that creates an obstruction in enjoying whatever is beautiful around. Sensitive soul like that of Ethan’s is seeking a continuous escape from the long drawn six months of staling and suffocating winter. Life gets buried under the six months of cold winter and seeks a continuous vent out from the captivating atmosphere.
As an author, Wharton is perceived to have spent much of her time in leisure. By depicting the life of Ethan, that of a rural working class in New England along with his close introspection of life and household, the author wants to establish a bridge between the world that ...Show more


Published in the year 1911, the novel is set against the background of the conjured town of Starkfield in Massachussetts. The literary device of extended flashback and the third-person…
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