A "ruin of a man," according to The Narrator, he is still a "striking figure. He has a "powerful look," that is "bleak and unapproachable. Ethan is a poor man who is simple, straightforward, and responsible.
Ostensibly, though, the story of Ethan Frome is a tragic and dramatic portrayal of irony, both as a literary technique and an authorial worldview. The first version of Ethan Frome was in French, which Wharton abandoned and then rewrote in English during a period of personal turmoil.
Instead, it presents a total and enclosed universe of restrictive forces for both its female figures of Mattie and Zeena and its central male Ethan, who as a figure caught between these two extremes of vitality and sterility expresses the meaning of the story. The narrator, an engineer, comes to Starkfield in the dead of winter on a work assignment that requires he lodge in Starkfield and commute daily to his work site.
Zeena, in her dictatorial manipulations, decides to send Mattie away.
Although Zeena is powerful through her helplessness, controlling and frustrating Ethan at every turn, he knows that abandoning her will destroy her. On the way to the train station, Mattie and Ethan take a detour to sled down a dangerous hill, both tacitly and subconsciously abandoning themselves to the moment and a possible but not explicit suicide.
The tale now returns to the frame, to the present, and to the beginning of the story. The narrator steps over the threshold and finds not what he expects—a querulous Zeena and a crippled, even innocently maimed Mattie—but instead the reverse of their roles: It is at this point that Mrs.
Hale tells the narrator that it is Ethan who truly suffers the most—and then makes her chilling observation that there is little difference between the Fromes in the farmhouse and the Fromes in the graveyard.Essay A Comparison of the Women of Wharton and Deledda Two writers, both women, both from different backgrounds.
Edith Wharton was high society. Grazia Deledda was a commoner from another country. Though both wrote almost exclusively to their won regions, their portrayal of women was quite similar.
In Wharton"s Ethan Frome she has two women, both distinct from one another. Fukuoka | Japan Fukuoka | Japan. This quotation is from the introduction, in which the narrator describes his experience of a Starkfield winter. His metaphorical comparison of Starkfield’s struggle against the harsh winter and a “starved garrison” struggling against a besieging army establishes one of Ethan Frome’s principal themes: the bleak, harsh physical environment surrounding the characters acts as an oppressive.