Ethan Frome: Explore the Idea of Communication Among the Characters in the Novel
A better life with her mother that she longed to have. It is difficult for a reader to depict a story that ultimately is not present on paper. It is also understandable to say that her experiences are in fact portrayed in the text, but between the lines. Concluding the analysis of Ethan Frome, it is critical to understand that Wharton’s life was an important aspect in writing this novel. Edith Wharton’s novel is centered primarily around the life of her own and her unconscious mind. The unconscious mind takes over the conscious when writing her work, without even realizing it. Due to her lack of unconscious control, Ethan Frome would not allow for the reader to connect the relationship she had with her mother and the life of Ethan, Mattie, and Zeena.
However, tension between the two lovers grows higher that Ethan fails to consummate his passion for Mattie. At this point, the narrator employs symbolism to reveal the difficulty involved when immorality is due. On the other hand, the cat, which represents the presence of the official wife shatters Zeena’s marriage pickle dish. This signifies the collapsing relationship between Ethan and Zeena (Canby 34). Later that day before they retire to bed, Ethan gets closer to demonstrating his love, but again he fails to do so. By losing this special opportunity, Ethan’s misery is definitely on the rise. Perhaps, he hopes to extend his extramarital intentions soon enough before Zeena reports back. Like the previous day, Ethan spends another sad night. Moreover, Ethan’s inactivity concerning the planned exit of Mattie leaves him hopeless. Torn between morality and social norms, Ethan keeps on postponing the revelation of his feelings to Mattie at the expense of his happiness. As the head of the family, Ethan has all the rights to make decisions. Unfortunately, his wife dominates over him that he has no say at all in regard to family matters. Besides, the narrator makes it clear that Ethan is not fully settled on whom to love. This is seen when he runs into town to get some glue for fixing the smashed dish. Here, Ethan gambles between the pleasure presented by Mattie and the obstacles created by his wife. When Ethan returns that evening from town, he is deeply frustrated when he realizes that his wife is back. Additionally, the wife wants attention from him since her health is on the decline. Therefore, Mattie is to be replaced with a younger and more efficient girl. This latest development angers Ethan very much but as usual, he decides to remain quiet and hurt. Instead of Ethan opening to Mattie about his feelings, he goes ahead to tell her how Zeena intends to replace her with another girl. This is definitely another area where he fails to act and finds himself unhappy, now that Zeena has become suspicious of his relationship with Mattie. Consequently, his docile nature coupled with the demands of Zeena leaves him hopeless (Canby 40).
Ethan loves the walks home with Mattie simply because he gets to be alone with Mattie. He loves simply feeling her body next to his as they walk close together to stay warm. Ethan truly loves everything about Mattie.
Canby, Vincent. “Liam Neeson in Lead of Wharton Classic.” The New York Times 8.2 (2007): 21-50. Print.
Dodson, Samuel F. “Frozen Hell: Edith Wharton’s Tragic Offering.” Edith Wharton Review 16.1 (1999): 20-31. Web.
Edith, Wharton. Fiction of Edith Wharton. New York: Charles Scribner, 1922. Web.