Date of publication: 2017-08-25 16:27
Edith Wharton uses symbols as a literary element to convey the themes in Ethan Frome . One of the recurrent symbols in Ethan Frome is that of winter. It represents the sterility of Ethan&rsquo s life. Winter is a time when nothing grows and being unprotected can mean death. Ethan&rsquo s whole life is like he is trapped outdoors in winter. There is no warmth in his home and he and Zeena have no children. His daily existence sucks the life out of him just like a cold day would suck the warmth from his body. The symbol of winter is echoed by the name of the town, Starkfield , which implies that the whole town is barren and trapped by the winter of social strictures.
Catharsis in Literature - Irony in The House of Mirth research papers exaine the life of Lily Bart and how Edith Wharton weaves irony throughout the novel.
9. How does Wharton&rsquo s use of Ethan&rsquo s point of view to portray Mattie influence our perception of the girl? What does Wharton seem to think of her? Consider the Introduction and Conclusion along with the rest of the novel.
Wharton emphasizes that Ethan yearns to escape Starkfield. Before Zeena&rsquo s illness, he had planned to sell his farm, move to a larger town, and find work as an engineer. But he never escapes, and the reader has the sense that the oppressive spirit of the endless winters, along with his poverty and Zeena&rsquo s illness, seem to have settled over his heart, pinning him to one place. Mattie, with her high spirits and red trimmings which contrast sharply with the deathly whiteness of Starkfield appears to offer Ethan a way out, but in the end she, too, succumbs to the aura of the landscape. By the end of the novel, we see her sitting in the Frome farmhouse during a blizzard, complaining bitterly about the cold.
The novel is constructed so that only the last paragraph gives clues to the whole narration, it fills the last gap of the story and what we come to is the bitter understanding of a great tragedy that has unfolded in the still waters of a small town in Massachusetts. It is a personal drama that has ruined the lives of the people who could have lived a long and happy life. Or could the smash-up they survived be the only prerequisite for them to see the true value of things and recognize huge cloudy meanings behind the daily face of things ?
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Symbolism in Little Women - In her novel Little Women, Louisa May Alcott employed symbolism to explore society's treatment of men and women.
Twenty years later the narrator observes the family the way it lives now and everything is actually turned upside down, as Zeena does everything she can for them both, Matt who used to be so sweet has soured and Mrs. Hale sadly concludes her story by saying the unbearable thing: if she'd (Mattie) ha' died, Ethan might have lived and they way they are now, I don't see's there's much difference between the Fromes up at the farm and the Fromes in the graveyard.
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The constraint social and moral concerns place on individual desire is perhaps the novel&rsquo s most prominent theme, since Ethan Frome &rsquo s plot is concerned with Ethan&rsquo s desire for a woman who is not his wife. By denying Zeena a single positive attribute while presenting Mattie as the epitome of glowing, youthful attractiveness, Wharton renders Ethan&rsquo s desire to cheat on his wife perfectly understandable. The conflict does not stem from within Ethan&rsquo s own heart his feelings for Mattie never waver. Instead, the conflict occurs between his passions and the constraints placed on him by society, which control his conscience and impede his fulfillment of his passions.
Not only does bleak, oppressive cold shape Starkfield&rsquo s physical landscape it penetrates the characters&rsquo psychic landscapes as well. Early on, the narrator uses a metaphor of a city under siege to describe Starkfield in winter, comparing the freezing, snowy weather to a besieging army, and the inhabitants of Starkfield to a &ldquo starved garrison.&rdquo This metaphor establishes the theme of how Starkfield&rsquo s icy climate oppresses human lives. Just as the village&rsquo s spirit is crushed by the six months of ice and snow, so Ethan&rsquo s personal spirit is crushed an old man describes Ethan as having &ldquo been in Starkfield too many winters.&rdquo Ethan&rsquo s home comes to seem like a prison that constricts him.
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