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Confuse About How To Start Writing Ethan Frome Essay?


A Brief Introduction of Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton


Ethan Frome is a book written by an American author Edith Wharton in the year 1911. The story is set in the fictitious town of Starkfield, Massachusetts. In the year 1993, the novel was adapted into a film. This novel was written in a narrative form. The framing of the story is concerned with the male narrator who remains unnamed and was spending winter while being in the area of business in Starkfield. The narrator spots a quite, limping man around the village who is somehow compelling in his carriage and demeanor. This character was Ethan Frome. The narrator describes Ethan Frome as “the most striking figure in the Starkfield”, “careless powerful look”, and the “ruin of a man”. Curiously, the narrator intends to learn more about him. He obtained information that Frome’s Limping as the result of being injured in a ‘smash up’ twenty-four years before. The narrator does not get enough opportunity to learn more about Ethan frame from the townspeople. Except the fact that he tried to obtain higher education before a decade, which was thwarted by the sudden illness of his father following an injury. Ethan Frame was forced to return back to the farm for assisting his parents and never leave them again. People seem not to wish speaking about Ethan Frome other than in general and vague terms about his past. The curiosity of narrator grows and he managed to obtain few more information about the Ethan Frome’s past.


The situation arises when the narrator was able to hire Ethan Frome as his driver for a week. Due to the heavy snowstorm during one of their journeys has forced Ethan to provide shelter to the narrator at his home in one night. The framed story begins after the entrance of both the narrator and the Ethan Frome. The first chapter embarks the events that takes place twenty-four years before.

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Story of Ethan Frome


The Chapter I of the story begins with Ethan waiting outside the Church dance for Mattie, his wife cousin, who has lived with Ethan and Zeena (Ethan’s wife) for helping them around the house and farm. An Occassional night off was given to Mattie when she entertain herself in town as the partial recompense for helping the Frome’s. It was the duty of Ethan to walk her home. It was obvious that he has deep feelings for Mattie. It has also become cleared that Zeena too has observed enough to understand the deep feelings of Ethan. The reason of resentments is easily understandable at this point of time. When Zeena moved for an overnight, seeking treatment for the complaints and symptoms, Ethan remains excited to spend the evening with the Mattie alone. At this particular evening, the narrator reveals that both of them had feelings for the other, through the touching of hands on the milk jug. However, they do not openly declare their love to one another. Mattie makes upper and also retrieves the highly treasured pickle dish from the high shelf. Keeping of pickle dish on high shelf was intentional by Zeena to protect it. However, Mattie uses the pickle dish to serve Ethan, a simple supper. The disaster took place when the cat jumps on the table and knocks it off in a manner that it cannot be repaired. Ethan tries to set the dish’s pieces neatly so that it can give the false impression of wholeness, if not examined closely. He was planning to purchase some glue and fix it as soon as possible.


During the morning time, Ethan was hoping for a more private moment with Mattie, which was foiled by the presence of the hired ma. He then goes to the town for purchasing glue to fix the broken pickle dish. Zeena has also reached home when he returns from the town. Zeena retreats to upstairs claiming that she will not have supper as she was not hungry. Being on upstairs, she informed Ethan that she has planned to send Mattie away and has already hired a replacement for her. She claims that she needed someone who is more efficient as her health is deteriorating much rapidly than ever before.


Ethan was furious and frustrated by the thought of losing Mattie and he was also worried as she does not have any other place to support herself. After having conversation with Zeena, Ethan returns to the kitchen and joined Mattie, where he discloses about Zeena’s plan to send her away. She weas shocked but with the rapid acceptance and tried to calm Ethan. At this point of time, Ethan insisted that he will not let her go and kissed her. Then they are interrupted by Zeena who now claims that she is hungry enough to have a supper. After having supper, Zeena has discovered her broken pickle dish and is enraged, which cements her determination to send her away.

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Ethan was miserable about losing Mattie and intends to run away with Mattie, but he lacks enough money for doing so. In addition, he also feels that he could not abandon Zeena as she is not in a position to handle both the house and the farm, nor she will sell it. The next morning, Zeena describes her imminent plans for sending Mattie away. Ethan tried to obtain some advances from customers in town, and after failing to do so, he returned to the farm. Ethan picks Mattie for taking her to the train station. While being at the hill, Mattie suggests the suicide pact. At first Ethan refuses, but later agreed to the idea. They planned for sledding directly into a tree so that they can never be parted. On the way down, the vision of Zeena’s face pops up in the mind of Ethan and he swerved towards the right course, and they crashed into the elm tree. After regaining consciousness, Ethan saw Mattie lying beside him, cheeping in pain, just like the wounded animal. Ethan also got injured. It was at this time when the readers knew that this was the “smash up” that left Ethan with the permanent limp.

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