They stop at a hill upon which they had once planned to go sledding and decide to sled together as a way of delaying their sad parting, after which they anticipate never seeing each other again. We then embark on the "first" chapter Chapter Iwhich takes place twenty-four years prior.
Development[ edit ] The story of Ethan Frome had initially begun as a French-language composition that Wharton had to write while studying the language in Paris but several years later she took the story up again and transformed it into the novel it now is, basing her sense of New England culture and place on her 10 years of living at The Mount, her home in Lenox, Massachusetts.
As the sled speeds downhill, he remembers that he must feed his horse and thinks of Zeena—these distractions make him lose control of the sled and botch the suicide attempt, crippling instead of killing himself and Mattie, and condemning them both to a kind of living death.
Although he has one night alone with Mattie, he cannot help but be reminded of his domestic duties as he sits in his kitchen. His desire to leave Starkfield to pursue a career in engineering conflicts with his obligation to provide for his wife and continue running the family farm.
The narrator describes Mrs. Lenox is also where Wharton had traveled extensively and had come into contact with at least one of the victims of the accident; victims of the accident are buried in graves nearby Wharton family members.
The novel was criticized by Lionel Trilling as lacking in moral or ethical significance. Critics did take note of this when reviewing the book. Ned has died by the time the narrator comes to Starkfield.
Her kindness and praise for his dedication to Zeena lead Ethan to reevaluate his decision to borrow money from Andrew Hale to elope with Mattie. The next morning, Zeena describes her specific and imminent plans for sending Mattie on her way. The novel suggests that sensitive souls like Ethan become buried emotionally beneath the winter—their resolve and very sense of self sapped by the oppressive power of the six-month-long cold season.
Though Zeena and poverty are both forces that keep Ethan from fulfilling his dream, the novel again and again positions the climate as a major impediment to both Ethan and his fellow townsfolk.
This is Ethan Frome, who is a local fixture of the community, having been a lifelong resident. Elizabeth Ammons compared the work to fairy tales.
Her misery over her plight and dependence has embittered and "soured" her, and, with roles reversed, Zeena is now forced to care for her as well as Ethan.
Ethan returns to the farm and picks up Mattie to take her to the train station. Chance circumstances arise that allow the narrator to hire Frome as his driver for a week.
Read an in-depth analysis of Ethan Frome. He feels that he Ethan frome and desire abandon Zeena because he knows that she would neither be able to run the farm nor sell it the poor quality of the place has been discussed at several points in the story already. How often theme appears: The final chapter or epilogue again unnumbered like the prologueswitches back to the first-person narrator point of view of the prologue, as Frome and his visitor, the narrator, enter the Frome household two decades later.
After supper, Zeena discovers the broken pickle dish and is heartbroken and enraged; this betrayal cements her determination to send Mattie away. Wharton cripples Mattie, says Lilburn, but has her survive in order to demonstrate the cruelty of the culture surrounding women in that period.
That he remains nameless highlights the thinness of his character.Ethan Frome, the novel’s protagonist, is described by an old man as having “been in Starkfield too many winters.” As the story progresses, the reader, and the narrator, begin to understand more deeply the meaning of this statement.
Find the quotes you need in Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome, sortable by theme, character, or chapter. From the creators of SparkNotes. Oscar-nominated Liam Neeson stars as Ethan Frome in the adaptation of the classic Edith Wharton novel.
Torn between his joyless marriage to one woman and his lustful desire for another, his actions soon lead to a forbidden love triangle between one love that is, and one that will never be. Crystal Spears Professor Brown American Classics April 27, Frome’s Desire and the Path to the Elm Of the many themes present in Edith Wharton's tragic novel, Ethan Frome that could be discussed at length, one of these that above all seem to drive the plot of the novel from event to event.
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Ethan Frome, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Duty and Morality vs.
Desire appears in each chapter of Ethan Frome. Click or tap on any chapter to read. Themes in Ethan Frome Obligations as Desire’s Obstacles: For Ethan, his wants are constantly at odds with the duties—mainly to Zeena—he believes he is bound to carry out.
Before his marriage, Ethan was an ambitious, intelligent man who hoped to study engineering or science, and Zeena was a talkative, caring young woman.Download