What are some similes in Chapter 1 of "Ethan Frome," by Edith Wharton?

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ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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"Ethan Frome" is a novel by Edith Wharton about a man, Ethan, his wife, Zeena, and her cousin, Mattie Silver.  Ethan is obsessed with Mattie but married to Zeena. The story opens with Ethan standing outside a building watching his wife's cousin dancing.  He is resentful of the looks she gives other people and is jealous that he is not the one dancing with her.

As the first chapter progresses, Ethan's wife is becoming less tolerant of Mattie and begins to speak to Ethan about her needs, hiring someone to help her, and Mattie leaving.  Ethan won't hear it and pretends he is in a hurry.

A Simile is a comparison between two thing using the term "like" or "as."  There is a simile in the second sentence of chapter 1,

"In a sky of iron the points of the Dipper hung like icicles and Orion' flashed his cold fires."

Later in the chapter Wharton writes:

"the dancers were going faster and faster, and the musicians, to keep up with them, belaboured their instruments like jockeys lashing their mounts on the home-stretch."

On page 24 in my edition Wharton writes:

"But hitherto the emotion had remained in him as a silent ache, veiling with sadness the beauty that evoked it. "

"That's Orion down yonder, the big fellow to the right is Aldebaran, and the bunch of little ones-like bees swarming- they're the Pleiades..."

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dalepowell1962 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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Similes are easy to locate and there are several in Chapter One of "Ethan Frome". Remember that a simile is a comparison of two unlike things or situations using "like" or "as".  That makes them relatively easy to identify.  The very first one is found in the second sentence of Chapter 1. Edith Wharton writes, "In a sky of iron the points of the Dipper hung like icicles and Orion flashed his cold fires."  The constellation, the Dipper is being compared to icicles hanging from an unnamed object.

There are many more, but the very next one I saw came in the next paragraph when Frome is thinking that "It's like being in an exhausted receiver."  Here the character is comparing his situation to the exhausted receiver and he continues by recollecting on how his present situation reminds him of concepts learned in physics class.

There are many more.  Go through and find like or as and see if it is comparing something.  If it is, you have found a simile.

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