Ethan from

Topics: Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton, Winter Pages: 4 (1542 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Ethan From, the main character in the Edith Wharton novel Ethan From, is a man who lives in a world of silence. He lives in the New England town of Starkfield, Massachusetts, with his bitter wife and his wife's cousin Mattie. Over time Ethan is a man who has become trapped in Starkfield due to the number of winters he has endured. The mood throughout the novel is that of Winter. Winter connotes detachment, loneliness, bleakness, bitterness, and seclusion which are all portrayed in the novel. This essay will show how Edith Wharton uses seasonal symbolism to heighten the tragedy in the novel. Ethan is a twenty-eight year old man who feels trapped in his home town of Starkfield, Massachusetts. The novel takes place in the late 1800's, this was a hard time for all but when you add in the harsh winters of Starkfield things get worse. The novel beings with a description of Starkfield, "the village lay under two feet of snow, with drifts at the windy corners" (Wharton 15) this is a basic picture of Starkfield throughout the novel. Starkfield like Ethan has given into the rigors of the many winter. Ethan is a poor farmer who has to support a "sickly" wife who does nothing but complain about everything. Ethan married his wife of seven years, Zeena, who is a bit older than he, following the death of his mother, in an unsuccessful attempt to escape the silence, isolation, and the loneliness of the life of Starkfield. The setting for Ethan From is winter. Edith Wharton , the author, chose winter because it symbolizes the emotional, physical isolation, cold, darkness and death that surround Ethan. Similarly, the name of the town Starkfield is symbolic of Ethan's life. Stark depicts the many harsh winters causing unproductive, spiritless, and devastation to the people of Starkfield. One citizen may have said it best, "Guess he's been in Starkfield too many winters" (5). The reader can take this statement one of two ways; that his livelihood has been taken away after the number...
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