Describe Mattie's room in Chapter 9 of Ethan Frome. Why is this description important?

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

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What is important about Mattie's room in chapter 9 is that it is a stark portrait of a space that is completely devoid of all of the items that made the room Mattie's.  When Ethan enters the room he is struck by the fact that all of her belongings are packed in trunk, so the things that represented her warmth (like the red and white quilt), her beauty and domesticity (like the pretty pin-cushion on the chest of drawers), and her personal touches (like the picture of her mother and the cluster of dried grasses) are all gone -- just as Mattie will completely disappear from Ethan's home and his life when he delivers her the train station later that day.  The room is said to be "cold and comfortless as when Zeena had shown her into it on the day of her arrival."  That is exactly what Ethan will have to face, day in and day out, once Mattie's warm presence has vanished.

lmetcalf's profile pic

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

Posted on

What is important about Mattie's room in chapter 9 is that it is a stark portrait of a space that is completely devoid of all of the items that made the room Mattie's.  When Ethan enters the room he is struck by the fact that all of her belongings are packed in trunk, so the things that represented her warmth (like the red and white quilt), her beauty and domesticity (like the pretty pin-cushion on the chest of drawers), and her personal touches (like the picture of her mother and the cluster of dried grasses) are all gone -- just as Mattie will completely disappear from Ethan's home and his life when he delivers her the train station later that day.  The room is said to be "cold and comfortless as when Zeena had shown her into it on the day of her arrival."  That is exactly what Ethan will have to face, day in and day out, once Mattie's warm presence has vanished.

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