How does the description of Ethan Frome's house in the novel Ethan Frome symboliza his own condition?

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It is in the prologue of Edith Wharton's novel Ethan Frome where we find the description of both Ethan and his place of residence. The prologue serves as a wonderful conduit to help us realize the current state of Ethan, both mentally and physically. It is precisely his condition that makes Ethan such a recognizable person in town, and it is his current state that sparks the curiosity of the first narrator, a visitor, who is told about Ethan's story by Harmon Gow.

We find that Ethan's house is described with the same amount of sadness, and instilling a similar amount of misery.

That's my place,”...

(The entire section contains 529 words.)

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udonbutterfly | Student

You can tell Ethan is pretty much feed up with the farm to the point where he looks for ways to either further disown it or even brighten up his surroundings. And those ways would be through the presence of both Zeena and Mattie. In the novel whenever Zeena is around the farm becomes bleak, desolate and cold which only makes Ethan think more about hoe dull and incomplete his life is see here in this quote:

Against the dark background of the kitchen she stood up tall and angular, one hand drawing a quilted counterpane to her flat breast, while the other held a lamp. The light, on a level with her chin, drew out of the darkness her puckered throat and the projecting wrist of the hand that clutched the quilt

Then there is when he's around Mattie and all of sudden life becomes more meaningful and the atmosphere is casted in a sunny cheerful hue. See quote here:

Ethan tried to hide his joy under an air of exaggerated indifference, lounging back in his chair to throw scraps to the cat, growling at the weather, and not so much as offering to help Mattie when she rose to clear away the dishes.

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