Ethan Frome Essay

Topics: Red, Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton Pages: 4 (830 words) Published: November 30, 2014
Alexandra Belue
ENG 202-08
Delmar Brewington (Spiros Papleacos)
20 October 2014

The Color Red: Ethan Frome
Colors are used throughout novels in order to convey certain messages, tones, and moods. The color red portrays an important message in the novel of Ethan Frome written by Edith Wharton. In contrast to the novel, the color red normally represents passion, love, and happiness. The repetition of the color red in Ethan Frome is more commonly conveyed as dark, gothic, sinfulness, and full of perpetual thoughts.

Coincidentally, Wharton used the color red often when Ethan and Mattie Silver are together, which represents how happy he is with her. In the first chapter, the first incident of the color red was mentioned. Mattie Silver, Zeena Frome’s cousin, is mentioned using the color red very often in the story. The color red portrays Mattie’s personality; vibrant and full of life. Ethan tries to find Mattie by searching for the scarlet red scarf she has on (Wharton 14). Ethan is very attracted to her, especially when she is wearing the color red. There are instances in the story where Edith Wharton makes in a point to pull red into the story.

There was a very important incident that happened in the story that has a huge symbolic impact on the novel. While Mattie and Ethan are at dinner together, alone for the first time, Mattie puts and ties a red bow in her hair and Ethan thinks it enhances her beauty (Wharton 37). "The two leaned forward at the same moment and their hands met on the handle of the jug. Mattie's hand was underneath, and Ethan kept his clasped on it a moment longer than it was necessary. The cat, profiting by this unusual demonstration, tried to effect an unnoticed retreat, and in doing so backed into the pickle-dish, which fell to the floor with a crash" (Wharton 35). She realizes that Zeena will be very angry, but Ethan reassures her that everything will be fine and come back to keep enjoying dinner with him (Wharton 35-36). Ethan...

Cited: Wharton, Edith. Ethan Frome. New York: Dover, 1991. Print.
Hattenhauer, Darryl. "Wharton 's Ethan Frome." Explicator 51.4 (1993): 226. Literary Reference Center. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.
Brown, Carol W., Barbara J. Chappelle, and Miami, FL. Dade County Public Schools. The Modern Face Of Love: English. n.p.: 1971. ERIC. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.
Rogers, Michael. "Wharton, Edith. The Age of Innocence." Library Journal 1 Apr. 2008: 123. Nursing and Allied Health Collection. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.
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