Henry Ford once said, “If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and...

Henry Ford once said, “If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.” How does evidence from Ethan Frome challenge or support this statement?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The quotation you found from Henry Ford is a good starting point for the essay you are planning to write. Since you only have two pages in which to complete the assignment, you will want to focus specifically on how money affects the outcome of the story. 

In one way, the bad choices that lead to Ethan's tragic crippled life can be attributed to lack of family money. On the other hand, it could equally well be argued that his situation, from staying on the farm rather than living a more attractive urban life and his being trapped in a loveless marriage, are both due to his own passivity and the way he lets external forces and conventions dictate his choices. Although we can see his decisions as tragic, and stemming from duty, they also seem to have an odd tinge of passivity and fatalism to them. 

As you read through the book, you should note down passages in which we see Ethan's circumstances as being due to financial exigencies. Analyze each passage to decide if, in fact, there were other choices present to Ethan, or whether his family and financial situation did in fact trap him. 

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