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How did Ethan try to escape Starkfield?

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Ethan Frome. The book Ethan Frome was written in a narrator's point of view, although the actual story is in Ethan's thoughts and his actions. The book runs around two main themes, the fight between love and public standard and the effects that a harsh winter climate can have on a person's spirit. These themes affect Ethan's character and make him very upset, lonely and very unhappy. Overwhelmed with his duty to his wife he becomes stuck in Starkfield in a way he is frozen like the landscape around him, "Guess he's been in Starkfield too many winters," a local tells the narrator. Ethan grew up with a desire to escape Starkfield for bigger cities, and also had a great desire for a career in science. His first attempt to escaping Starkfield was leaving for college. He has to return when his father gets kicked in the head by a horse and dies. He stays and helps his mother on the farm but soon his mother becomes ill, so he invites a distant family member Zeena to help him around the house and look after his mother. Zeena looks after his mother and Ethan very well but his mother still died 'After the funeral, when he saw her preparing to go away, he was ...read more.


They could get the train into the city and start again. Ethan was very excited at the thought of living with Mattie but realised he only had enough money for one train ticket. He thought if he went and found a job and got settled down he could send for Mattie when he was financially ready. Ethan realised he could not leave Zeena as she was so ill and but her through everything and then leave her. When Zeena returns from Corbury Heights she says she is very ill and the doctor insists they get a hired girl and get rid of Mattie. Ethan exclaims that Mattie is a great deal better than a hired girl and a lot cheaper. Zeena does not agree and insists she has to go. Mattie calls them for dinner but only Ethan and Mattie sit down to eat. Mattie questions him asking what is going on and Ethan insists everything is fine but is unable to eat. Ethan stands up and walks over to her, 'Ethan takes her into his arms and kisses her fully upon the lips.' Mattie pulls away trying to make sense of what is happening when with a violent outburst, Ethan declares that Mattie must not go. She realises Zeena insists she is to leave. ...read more.


Zeena recovered from her illness and is back to full health. She now looks after Mattie day and night. Ethan ruined his life by marrying Zeena, he only married her because he felt lonely and guilty and he regretted it for the rest of his life. When he finally found love and happiness he could not enjoy all the pleasures life brings with it because of a mistake he made years ago because he was scared of being lonely. As a result of this he and Mattie attempted suicide but failed so now Ethan must live out his years as a cripple with his wife and a handicapped Mattie. Not what one hopes for in life. I think the way that Edith Wharton uses language and imagery is appropriate and very useful. It helps give you a sense of what Starkfield is really like, the cold winters, the judging residents and the tie between doing the right thing and following your heart. Edith Wharton also shows the sorts of things that are of her own interest in the book like nature. The imagery in her writing also describes nature compared to certain things in the novel, for example, the characters facial expressions or feelings she compares to certain aspects of nature in the world. By Georgina Pipe ...read more.

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