Explain one the themes in Ethan Frome
SparkNotes: Ethan Frome: Themes, Motifs & Symbols
The setting of Ethan Frome, also expresses the isolation. Around the turn of the century, in Ethan Frome's time, the town of Starkfield was a cold and lifeless place. Life is dreary and cheerless in Starkfield. People stay indoors and keep to themselves. Weeks pass between visits with friends or neighbors. Wharton calls Starkfield a small farming community, and the town does live up to it's name. It's desolate and it's people are poor. Ethan can barely scrape a living off the land. The town Starkfield afflicts Ethan and helps to shape his destiny. Like the town, he is sullen and run-down. Starkfield sits alone in its valley, isolated from the world around it. Ethan is also isolated. He left the lonely valley to go to college, but since returing he has gone scarcely more than few miles from his remote farm. Physically, and therefore, emotionally, he is trapped by his wife, his farm, and his poverty. Ethan is in some ways, a piece of the scenery, or as the narrator says, "a part of the mute melancholy landscape, an incarnation of frozen woe." He lacks the strength to shake himself loose before it's too late. The author is able to clearly portray the themes of isolation and loneliness through the characters and the setting. In conclusion, I feel that Ethan Frome should be included in a list of works of high literary merit, because it is a classic.
Description and explanation of the major themes of Ethan Frome
Edith Wharton uses characters such as Mattie, to express the theme of loneliness and isolation. Mattie Silver is unlike any of the other characters in Ethan Frome. The town of Starkfield is very colorless and dull. When Mattie enters she is wearing bright clothing and ribbons tied in her hair. From her first appearance, the reader becomes aware that Mattie is very different from Ethan's wife. Of all the characters in this novel, Mattie is the most tragic. She was so energetic and full of life that she wanted to free Ethan from this terrible society he lived in. She suggested suicide as a means of escape for the two of them. When the attempt failed, she became paralyzed. She is now stuck in the cold, colorless, world of Starkfield.