The narrator of Ethan Frome notes the "unusually forlorn and stunted look" of Ethan Frome's house after the narrator passes an orchard of withered apple trees (page 8). The narrator says that the house developed a shrunken look because it lost its "L," the addition built perpendicular to the main house. He says that "it is certain that the 'L' rather than the house itself seems to be the centre, the actual hearth-stone of the New England farm," and he sees "in the diminished dwelling the image of his [Ethan's] own shrunken body" (page 8). Ethan Frome had to take down the "L" of the house, and so his house has a shrunken and cold look to it that signifies that it has seen better times. In the same way, Ethan's body has become shrunken and lame. The missing "L" is similar to Ethan's lame leg. The narrator says of Ethan, "he was so stiffened and grizzled that I took him for an old man and was surprised to hear that he was not more than fifty-two" (page 1). Like his house, Ethan looks aged and well past his prime, and his body has shrunk and become far less robust than it formerly was.