Ethan's strength of attraction How do you explain the strength of Ethan’s attraction to Mattie?  Why is she so important to him? (from chapter 1 and 2)

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Sometimes we grow attached to people we spend a lot of time with, whether we intend to or not. I concur that Ethan finds Mattie a welcome distraction from the drudgery and monotony of the white landscape of his life, both literally and metaphorically.
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Sometimes we grow attached to people we spend a lot of time with, whether we intend to or not. I concur that Ethan finds Mattie a welcome distraction from the drudgery and monotony of the white landscape of his life, both literally and metaphorically.
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One reason Mattie is important to Ethan is that she offers him some distraction from the continual interior, anxious focus caring for an ill (and ill-mannered!) person generates. She gives him opportunity to think of things outside his restricted personal life. She gives him the presence of vital life and cheer. Painfully ironic is the tragic loss of these very qualities from the life they go on to share together.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Mattie is a refreshing youthful and attractive young woman and Ethan can't help but notice that she is completely different from the landscape, the house and his wife. It is revealed in Chapter 1 that Mattie and Ethan walk together in the evenings. It is during these times that Ethan could share with Mattie all that he had learned and

the fact that admiration for his learning mingled with Mattie's wonder at what he taught was not the least part of his pleasure. There were other sensations, less definable but more exquisite, which drew them together with a shock of silent joy.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial