Major Works Data Sheet Essay Example
Major Works Data Sheet Essay Example

Major Works Data Sheet Essay Example

Available Only on StudyHippo
View Entire Sample
Text preview

Title: Ethan Frome Edith Wharton was born Edith Newbold Jones.

She supposedly was born on January 24, 1862 in New York, New York. She came from an upper-class New York family and had a distant relationship with parents. Her parents were embarrassed by her literary ambitions. In 1885, she married Edward Wharton at the age of twenty-three in 1885.

It was an unhappy and loveless marriage, which led to a divorce in 1913. This event is what inspired many of Wharton’s novels. Wharton didn’t begin writing full-time until her early 40’s when she was living in Lennox, Massachusetts.

She wrote many successful novels, including The House of Mirth (1905), followed by Ethan Frome (1911), The Reef (1912), The Custom of the Country (1913), Summer(1917), and The Age of Innocence (1920), for which she won a Pulitzer Prize.

She was the first woman to ever earn this p


restigious award. Author: Edith Wharton Date of Publication: September 1911 Genre: Tragic Romance/ Gothic Romance Historical Information: The novel takes place during the Industrial Revolution when distinct social classes were established.

Traditional values brought about an imbalance of power between men and women that often destroyed their relationships with one another. Divorce was something that was severely frowned upon, even if the marriage was loveless and unhappy. Characteristics of the Genre: In tragic romance, two lovers will do nearly anything to be together but have to overcome many obstacles along the way. In most cases, both lovers die in the end because of love.

Plot Summary:

The novel starts out with the narrator being in Starkfield, a rural village, for winter. The narrator tries and find out more about a strange local, Ethan Frome. Because th

View entire sample
Join StudyHippo to see entire essay

train stops working, The Narrator gets a ride to work from Ethan. After, he continues to ride with Ethan, and becomes interested in Ethan’s life, asking him questions and trying to figure him out. Not learning anything, the narrator turns to other locals to find out about Frome’s tragic ‘accident’ that happened many years earlier.

Then one night when Frome is giving the narrator a ride back, a terrible winter storm turns that leads Ethan to invite the narrator to stay at his house. Then the novel switches its point of views from the narrator’s first person point of view to a limited third person point of view and goes back in time to the year of the accident. Ethan Frome is then seen waiting for Mattie to get out of a town dance and is jealous of Denis Eady for dancing with her, which allows the reader a first glimpse of Ethan’s feelings for Mattie.

When Ethan walks Mattie back towards home we see that Mattie is Zeena’s cousin and currently living with them to help Zeena since she is ill. Ethan ends up falling in love with Mattie. Mattie offers the warm qualities of a relationship that Zeena never showed. Ethan does Mattie's chores around the house for her and sneaks in extra time with her. Ethan found a companion who showed interest in him. It was almost like a childhood crush. Zeena is very suspicious of their relationship. The last straw was when Mattie broke the pickle dish while Zeena was away.

This was significant because the pickle dish had never been used because it was the nicest thing they owned. Zeena gets rid of

Mattie with the excuse that she needs a new nurse and they can't afford to keep both girls. Mattie has no place to go. Ethan stands up to Zeena and insists that he take her to the train. On the way to the train they stop to sleigh ride down a hill. After doing so, Mattie decides that they should commit suicide together that so they would never have to be alone. They attempt to commit suicide by sleighing into a tree.

They are unsuccessful, but both end up with permanent physical injuries. They end up all living together miserably with Zeena taking care of them. Memorable Quotes Quotes: Significance of each Quote: “Guess he's been in Starkfield too many winters” Harmon Gow says this to try to explain why Ethan looks so prematurely aged.

He also says this as if to emphasize how the landscape influences the character and personality of those who live there. “… a part of the mute melancholy landscape, an This quote demonstrates how barren, isolated, and harsh the landscape of Starkfield is. incarnation of its frozen woe, with all that was warm and sentient in him fast bound below the surface... in a depth of moral isolation too remote or casual access. " "The inexorable facts closed in on him like Ethan considers and finally, bitterly rejects as unfeasible his plan to leave Zeena and go West with Mattie, prison-warders handcuffing a convict.

There was no way his "one ray of light. " out - none. He was a prisoner for life, and now his one ray of light was to be extinguished. " |“If she'd ha' died, Ethan might ha' lived;

and the way Mrs. Hale explains to the narrator that if Mattie died, Ethan may have been able to get over her.

But they are now, I don't see's there's much difference because things turned out the way that they did, Ethan’s existence is kind of a “living death”. He will between the Fromes up at the farm and the Fromes down never be able to forget the sledding accident because Mattie lives with the Fromes due to her physical in the graveyard; 'cept that down there they're all disabilities. He has to live with a fate worse than death, which is knowing that he and Mattie will never be quiet, and the women have got to hold their tongues. ” together.

Characters Name Role in Story Significance Adjectives Ethan Frome Main protagonist Main character that all the events |“the ruin of a man”, thoughtful, happen to; who the story essentially is sensitive, and extremely unhappy with about his life Zenobia Frome Main antagonist She causes the main conflict in the hypochondriac, already looks like an old story; she is the reason why Mattie and woman, bitter, unattractive, cold, Ethan can never be together unhappy, whines and complains constantly Mattie Silver Zeena’s cousin and Ethan’s love interest She and Ethan fall in love. She beautiful, has a sweet disposition, represents a “ray of light” in his world cheerful, and understanding of confinement and darkness. The Narrator Views the story with fresh eyes and acts A stranger to Starkfield; doesn’t All that is told of the narrator is his as a vessel for the reader to understand actually witness the events, only occupation: he’s an engineer. the events

retells them from eye witnesses Harmon Gow Provides the Narrator with information Provides the Narrator with information A former stage-driver and town gossip. about Ethan’s situation about Ethan’s situation Mrs.

Ned Hale (Ruth Varnum) Was once close to the Frome’s; landlady Hesitant to talk to the Narrator about A middle-aged widow, more refined and to the Narrator. Ethan, Zeena, and Mattie educated than most of her neighbors.

Dennis Eady

The son of Starkfield’s rich Irish Ethan is very jealous of Dennis in the A womanizing, smug young man grocer, Michael Eady, and suitor of first few chapters, before he discovers Mattie Silver Mattie’s true feelings. Jotham Powell The hired man on the Frome arm Powell’s main duty is to assist Ethan in tries not to get involved in the Frome’s the cutting, loading, and hauling of personal situations lumber Setting Significance of Opening Scene The novel takes place during the late nineteenth to early twentieth century in the initial opening scene begins the prologue of the novel. It is from the point the small, country town of Starkfield, Massachusetts. Of view of the Narrator: a nameless stranger who doesn’t know anything of Starkfield and its inhabitants. It takes place 24 years after the conflict of the story and introduces us to the mysterious side of Starkfield: the Frome’s and their story. It gives us a first impression of Ethan Frome and leads us to come to our own conclusions about why he is the way that he is before finding out the real story.

Significance of the Closing Scene

The ending of the story is once again in the present time, 24 years after the actual events occurred. At this

point, the reader knows the full story up to the sled crash. This part of the story reveals the outcome of the sled crash.

The characters have undergone gruesome and not-so-gruesome transformations, but that they are all three still living together in the poverty stricken Frome home. Ethan is permanently disabled, as is Mattie, and Zeena is taking care of them both. It is significant because it ties up all of the loose ends that the reader might have from the beginning of the novel.

Symbols or Motifs:

Illness and disability: Ethan and those closest to him all suffer from some sort of sickness or disability. He spends years before the novel’s events began tending to his sick mother with the help of Zeena. After he and Mattie’s attempted suicide, he is forced to live life disfigured with a sick wife and the handicapped Mattie. The character’s outer appearance reflects their inner state of destitution. Snow and cold: Snow and cold emphasize the novel’s major theme of winter as a stifling force. Mattie’s red scarf and red ribbon: Red is a color of vitality, life, and good health. All of these are things that Zeena lacks. It also contrasts with the white, barren landscape of Starkfield that stifles and holds Ethan in its grasp. It also represents the devil. Mattie’s scarlet adornments represent her role as Ethan’s temptress. The cat and the pickle dish: After the pickle dish is broken, the cat then seats itself in Zeena’s rocking chair. The cat serves as a reminder to Ethan and Mattie that no matter what, Zeena will always find out what happens between them. The breaking of the pickle dish,

a wedding present for Ethan and Zeena, represents the disintegration of their marriage.

Zeena’s anguish over the broken dish shows her deeper anguish for her broken marriage. The final sled run: During the final sled run at the end of the novel, Ethan forfeits his ability to control and steer the sled. His decision to coast during the sled run represents his inability to escape his dilemma through any kind of action.

This also parallels Ethan’s attitude toward his life: unable to face the consequences of any decision, he lets external circumstances—other individuals, society, landscapes—make his decisions for him. Mattie’s proposal of suicide is particularly appealing to him because it eliminates all consequences for both of them forever.

Possible Themes:

Society and morality as obstacles to one’s true desires: Wharton doesn’t use a single positive adjective to describe Zeena while presenting Mattie as the epitome of glowing, youthful attractiveness. This is her way of making Ethan’s desire to cheat perfectly understandable. The conflict occurs between his passions and the constraints placed on him by society.

Although he has one night alone with Mattie, he cannot help but be reminded of his domestic duties as he sits in his kitchen. In the end, Ethan deals with the battle between his desires and his duty and obeys his societal duties as Zeena’s husband. He abandons his dreams, life’s burdens, and life itself by giving up on being with Mattie. Winter as a stifling force: Ethan is first presented in the novel as having “been in Starkfield too many winters. This suggests that souls like Ethan’s become emotionally affected by the six-month-long cold season that plagues Starkfield every year. The narrator, who at

first appreciates the winter’s loveliness at first, finds that the people of Starkfield spend much of the year in a state of siege by the elements. The weather acts as a force of destiny. The inhabitants of Starkfield and Ethan himself all see the wintery climate as the force that grips them and keeps them there.

Get an explanation on any task
Get unstuck with the help of our AI assistant in seconds