Ethan Frome Questions and Answers
by Edith Wharton

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How did Mattie get to the Fromes' in the book Ethan Frome?

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Mattie Silver comes from Stamford, and she comes to the Fromes' Starkfield home by train. Ethan goes to meet the train at the Flats and bring Mattie the rest of the way in his wagon, and he is "taken to the girl from the first day." Mattie had "smiled and waved to him from the train, crying out, 'You must be Ethan,'" and her vivacity and spontaneity are a welcome contrast to Ethan's sickly and dour wife. Mattie has

"an eye to see and an ear to hear: he could show her things and tell her things, and taste the bliss of feeling that all he imparted left long reverberations and echoes he could wake at will."

Interestingly, it is during his walks with Mattie from Starkfield back to the Frome residence that Ethan's attraction to his wife's cousin grows. Ethan's wife insists that Mattie avail herself of the occasional diversions offered in the city, and on those evenings, Ethan walks into town to fetch Mattie home. It is during these "night walks back to the farm" that Ethan feels "most intensely the sweetness of (his) communion" with her. Ethan's longing for a relationship with Mattie is fostered in a significant way each time he brings her home, both the first time from the train station at the Flats, and later on the occasions when he accompanies her home from the town "amusements" (Chapter 1).

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