Ethan Frome Essay, Research Paper
The Wicked Witch and Snow White
Edith Wharton presents two memorable characters in her novel, Ethan Frome. The reader is presented with Mattie Silver who is immature, and good-natured, and Zeena Frome, who is a acrimonious hypochondriac seven old ages her hubby? s senior. Upon a first review, Zeena Frome and Mattie Silver of Edith Wharton? s Ethan Frome seem to be utmost antonyms in every regard, but upon closer examination, one finds though they are so different in character, though they finally portion great similarities. Zeena and Mattie? s differences in visual aspect and character, but similarity of destiny, all contribute to the subject of the novel which is that one can non get away the societal category one is born in.
Edith Wharton foremost describes Zeena in Chapter II as a adult female who is but 37 old ages old, yet appears more aged than her biological age. Zeena is associated with the duskiness and Grey of the winter landscape of Ethan Frome. There is no beauty or heat coupled with the character of Zeena:
? Against the dark background of the kitchen she stood up tall and angular, one manus pulling a quilted bedspread to her level chest? The visible radiation? drew out of the darkness her puckered pharynx and the projecting carpus of the manus that clutched the comforter, intensifying fabulously the hollows and prominences of her high-boned face under its ring of pinching pins. ?
( 35 )
Mattie Silver, on the other manus, is associated with what small light and heat there is in the cold scene of the novel. Wharton describes Mattie as? taller, Fuller, more womanly in form and motion. ? ( 53 ) She goes to associate Mattie? s visual aspect on that same page:
? She held the visible radiation? and it drew out with the same sharpness her slender immature pharynx and the brown carpus no bigger than a kid? s. Then, striking upward, it threw a bright bit on her lips, edged her eyes a shadiness of velvet, and laid a milklike whiteness above the black curve of her foreheads.
( 53 )
Within the first five chapters, Edith Wharton establishes the blunt physical differences between immature, cheery Mattie Silver and unattractive, glooming Zeena Frome.
Mattie and Zeena differ in character every bit much as they differ in visual aspect. A great avocation of Zenna? s was to happen mistakes with others, though her? fault-finding was of the soundless sort, but non the less penetrating for that. ? ( 39 ) Zeena besides had an? obstinate silence? ( 39 ) that frightened Matti
vitamin E every bit good as her hubby. Ethan? s married woman was besides a great cause of annoyance for him:
? When she spoke, it was merely to kick, and to kick of things non in his power to rectify. Of late? her silence had begun to problem him? and wondered if Zeena was turning? queer. ? At other times her silence seemed intentionally assumed to hide far-reaching purposes, cryptic decisions drawn from intuitions and bitternesss impossible to think. ?
( 47 )
Zeen was a adult female turned acrimonious by excessively much discord and excessively small wages. The location of the farm isolated her from her neighbours, so she seldom could socialise with others. Having nil better to make, Zeena gives her ain wellness overzealous attending. She is occupied invariably with new pills, tummy pulverizations and books on diseases of the liver. Mattie Silver, nevertheless, was still immature and full of hope and joy. Her little batch of enduring had merely plenty to give her a sense of grasp to the sort cordial reception of Zeena and Ethan, but non so much that she was embittered, as Zeena was. She had non been at the farm every bit long as Zeena had been at that place, and so was non so? fagot? as Ethan described. Mattie, although non a natural housekeeper, tries her best to delight Zeena and Ethan, although the former noticed her attempts far less than the latter. Mattie, by nature, was a lovingness, fond individual. When Ethan returns from a difficult twenty-four hours at work, Mattie is waiting for him with:
? ? A lamp on the tabular array? laid carefully for supper, with fresh rings, stewed blueberries and his favourite pickles in a dish of homosexual ruddy glass. A bright fire glowed in the range? Ethan was suffocated with the sense of wellbeing. ?
( 53 )
Edith Wharton presents a blunt contrast of the feelings Zeena and Mattie inspire in the adult male they care most for. Zeena inspires annoyance, clumsiness, and antipathy while Mattie promotes? fluency, ? and feelings of? wellbeing. ?
Wharton was an devouring societal critic. She believed that it was hard, if non impossible, to get away from the societal and economic category one was born in. None of her other novels that were societal reviews such as The House of Mirth, or Custom of the Country, portray this belief every bit aggressively as Ethan Frome. Although Mattie was a beautiful, friendly immature adult female, she was destined to the same destiny that Zeena was destined to because she had been born into the same social-economic category.
Wharton, Edith. Ethan Frome. Evanston, Ill: McDougal Little, 1997.