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How are the themes of Ehtan Frome by Edith Wharton and the themes of The Crucible by...

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harleyrose | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 24, 2009 at 10:34 AM via web

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How are the themes of Ehtan Frome by Edith Wharton and the themes of The Crucible by Arthur Miller related?

These themes are not about the overall stories but of the struggles of John Proctor and Ethan Frome with their marrital relationships.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 24, 2009 at 9:26 PM (Answer #1)

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Both novels depict similar challenges within the realm of marriage.  There is a certain emptiness which exist in both sets of marriages in each of the works.  Ethan's emptiness with Zeena is similar, though not completely the same, as John's emptiness with Elizabeth at the outset of the play.  Both Ethan and John experience some level of disenchantment with their marriages.  This would explain why John pursued a relationship with Abigail and why Ethan sees Mattie as a potential escape.  Another similarity between both sets of marriages are the challenges of communication.  At the start of the play, John and Elizabeth have a difficult time communicating with one another, and the prior relationship with Abigail only adds to it.  Ethan and Zeena have nothing but disparity in communication, as they are incapable of speaking what one or both feel about the nature of their relationship. To a large extent, both couples continue on with their front of marriage for social acceptance and convention.

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