Ethan Frome

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“If you know Starkfield, Massachusetts, you know the post-office. If you know the post-office you must have seen Ethan Frome drive up to it, drop the reins of his hollow-backed bay and drag himself across the brick pavement to the white colonnade: and you must have asked who he was.” (pg.3) This describes how Starkfield is a very small town, and everyone seems to know everything about everyone, there are no secrets. Everything is very united. This is important because it gives the effect to the readers to imagine what living in a small town feels like.

“But when winter shut down on Starkfield, and the village lay under a sheet of snow perpetually renewed from the pale skies, I began to see what life there- or rather its negation- must have been in Ethan Frome’s young manhood.” (pg.7) The narrator describes his experience of a Starkfield winter. This quote is important to the novel because it establishes one of this books biggest themes: the bleak, harsh physical environment surrounding the characters that act as an overbearing power, forcing a sort of seclusion from society and all its activities outside of the house.

“He stood there a moment, breathing quickly, and looking up and down the street, in which not another figure moved.” (pg.25)
Ethan Frome walks to pick up Zeena’s cousin from the church, noone else was on the road. This symbolizes just how harsh the winter is and that it is so cold to the fact that not another person is in sight outside. This also shows once again how the town is very small since he can walk in order to get her.

“Guess he’s been in Starkfield too many winters.” (pg.6) This quote shows us that Ethan has lived for too long in what amounts to a state of siege by the climate. The novel suggests that when snow buries Starkfield each year, the emotions, dreams, and initiative of sensitive souls like Ethan also become buried, destroyed by the “long stretches of -sunless cold.” “She sat opposite the window, and the pale light...
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