Ethan Frome

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Ethan Frome Title
Uncontrollable elements, affect one’s decisions. Naturalists believe human behavior is controlled by social and economic conditions, environmental forces, and internal stresses surrounded amongst one’s self. Edith Wharton’s novel Ethan Frome, is the epitome of Naturalistic belief. Ethan Frome is bursting with examples of how unmanageable components of life shape one’s choice. The key decision of the novel is made when Ethan Frome and Mattie Silver fall in love, and choose to be together eternally. This leads to the petrifying crash, which prevents Ethan Frome and Mattie Silver from being together. Economic stress in the Frome household, which in part, causes emotional instability within the marriage of Ethan and Zeena Frome, and society’s disapproval of Ethan Frome and Mattie Silver’s relationship channel the decision to commit death. In the Frome household, the economic stress is great due to Zeena’s illness, expensive medical bills, and Ethan Frome’s refusal to except their financial reality. Zeena is extremely ill and her condition worsens by the day. Zeena requires medical treatment from various doctors, but all the treatment puts a hole in the Frome’s income. Knowing the situation at hand, Zeena asks her husband Ethan if their financial situation is okay. Ethan’s response is,” Yes, I’m getting an advance from Mr. Hale” (Ethan Frome). Ethan lies to Zeena so he will not kill his pride. Ethan’s pride is especially essential to him throughout the text. Even when Mr. Hale asks him, “You need the money?” Ethan refuses, even though he is desperately in need extra cash (Ethan Frome). Ethan is stuck between what he thinks is right, and what is best for his family. He knows facing the reality of not having money is upsetting, but at the same time, if he admits to his family they have no money the tension and anxiety will become unbearable. Ethan will not admit to the accruing debt which adds to his resentment for Zeena and Starkfield, New England....
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