In Ethan Frome at School House Hill, what did Mattie remind Ethan?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mattie and Ethan, on the way to the train station for her departure from the town for good, happen to ride by the school house hill where people often went sledding.  Ethan stops the sleigh in order for them to get a good view of the town below, and to postpone the sad and unwanted departure of his beloved Mattie.  They are both miserable; they don't want to leave each other, but have to.  While they are sitting there, Mattie turns to Ethan and says, "We were to have gone down last night," reminding him of the previous night and how they had planned to go down the hill together before Zeena had thwarted their plans.

This fateful reminder is what prompts Ethan to suggest that they have one last ride down the hill together.  They get out and take the ride, afterwards sharing embraces and kisses of goodbye.  That last ride put into Mattie's head the idea to go down the hill, crashing, hopefully dying, so that neither one of them would ever have to be apart from the other.  She doesn't want to leave Ethan, and can't imagine life apart from him.  In a moment of foolish drama, she makes the suggestion to Ethan, and that decides their fates for the rest of their lives.

I hope that those thought helped; good luck!

udonbutterfly | Student

Mattie reminded Ethan about his past where he thirsted for knowledge and aspired to be an engineer living in a big city. Just like Ethan, Mattie has a thing for knowledge! Mattie has a knack for admiring the stars and questioning things in life. For Ethan, Mattie is like the last hope he has in a world where he is dominated by his strong sense of responsibility.