In Ethan Frome, the setting plays a large part in the development and creation of internal conflicts between characters. Internal conflicts within the novel are a direct result of the cold winter season, bleak snow-filled landscape, and condition of Ethan Frome’s farmhouse in society.
The cold wintry season is emphasized much throughout the novel. Ethan Frome, the main character, says he’s “been in Starkfield too many winters.” When he was younger, he had always aspired to leave Starkfield and pursue a life in the city. However, the harsh weather (such as the rain, snow, wind) would always deter him from leaving. This created a huge internal conflict within himself, as he felt trapped, and unable to pursue any of his desires. It also created internal conflicts with him and Zeena, as she, poverty, and the winter were three things that kept Ethan from being able to leave. Therefore, he felt that she was a reason he was tied down, which made him loathe her slightly in his mind. One other thing the winters have done to the people, is affect their mood, and sap life from them. The people themselves always seem like they have very little energy, leading to constant bickering, and stress. This also attributed to why there were so many internal conflicts.
The bleak, snow filled landscape, is a factor in many internal conflicts. The wintry imagery is so overwhelming and oppressive, as snow, ice, and cold are constantly being used to describe the setting. One characteristic of Ethan is that he is indecisive. Throughout the book, he will begin to attempt what he wants, but will not follow through with it. This can be tied back to the bleak and oppressive setting, in which Ethan’s desires are suppressed, due to the fact that the coldness and stark features of the town drain the energy out of people, including Ethan. This constant conflict between what he wants, versus what he believe is ethical or possible, is one example of an internal conflict. The condition of Ethan...
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