Ethan Frome Questions and Answers

Ethan Frome

Sexuality is also a tricky subject, in literature as well as in life, and it's not always possible -- try as people might -- to put someone else in a neat little box. Your question is good, of...

Latest answer posted March 17, 2010, 1:49 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

Ethan Frome

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...

Latest answer posted April 23, 2012, 12:23 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

This novel is filled with different types and examples of irony. The most obvious examples are found within the ending of the novel. It is great situational irony that Ethan intends to commit...

Latest answer posted January 5, 2011, 12:25 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

Ethan and Mattie's sled ride in chapter 9 foreshadows their subsequent failed suicide attempt. All seems well—on the surface, at least. Ethan and Mattie are about to share a fun sled ride down the...

Latest answer posted January 27, 2018, 12:41 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

Ethan Frome

Ethan is strong in that he doesn't kill himself. He continues plugging on, even though he is barely alive. I guess you could also suggest that cheating on his horrible wife would show some...

Latest answer posted March 4, 2012, 6:34 am (UTC)

7 educator answers

Ethan Frome

Of course there will be differences between a novel and a movie made from that novel; the question for readers is always what the director will choose to omit, add, or change. In the case of Ethan...

Latest answer posted November 12, 2013, 2:57 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

In her essay,"Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome and the Question of Meaning," Elizabeth Ammons examines the novella as an inverted fairy tale modeled after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as Wharton...

Latest answer posted May 23, 2012, 3:58 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

Little is known of Ethan Frome's father as he is only mentioned in Chapter I and later in Chapter 4 as having died of an accident, presumably on the farm or in the sawmill, when Ethan was a...

Latest answer posted October 20, 2011, 12:47 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

The eponymous character Ethan Frome is a tragic hero because he is flawed and because fate is against him. A tragic hero is described as a character with either great traits, or with promising...

Latest answer posted April 29, 2013, 5:28 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

To add to the previous post- Chapter 9 is the pivotal chapter in which Mattie and Ethan make their suicide pact when Mattie told Ethan to "take her down again" (down the slope) so that they could...

Latest answer posted January 12, 2011, 1:01 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

Ethan Frome

This is one of the most significant lines in the whole book. Mrs. Hale is referring to the recovery of Mattie after the misguided suicide attempt by Ethan and Mattie. Ethan becomes the weak,...

Latest answer posted January 12, 2011, 12:19 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

The beginning of Ethan Frome is full of foreshadowing, setting up for the reveal about Ethan, Mattie, and Zeena's ironic and unfortunate past. The narrator's first descriptions of Ethan indicate...

Latest answer posted October 18, 2019, 4:33 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

Let's first define what constitutes a "rhetorical device." The Guide to Literary Terms by eNotes has an ample index with all the information you need to best understand how authors use their...

Latest answer posted January 3, 2020, 8:03 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

Ethan Frome

Frome is internally conflicted because he knows that he cannot just abandon Zeena and elope with Mattie. Zeena is an unpleasant person, querulous and irritable, and Ethan doesn't love her. But...

Latest answer posted January 11, 2020, 4:28 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

Ethan Frome

In American history--specifically that of New England where Wharton's narrative is also set--the elm tree holds much significance. For, in Boston there was a large, tall elm tree which came to be...

Latest answer posted October 5, 2011, 12:17 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

Similes are easy to locate and there are several in Chapter One of "Ethan Frome". Remember that a simile is a comparison of two unlike things or situations using "like" or "as". That makes them...

Latest answer posted June 20, 2009, 7:23 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

Ethan Frome

Simply put, the sled in Edith Wharton's novel Ethan Frome represents freedom in more ways than one. However, it will later become a symbol of oppression and despair. The story takes place in the...

Latest answer posted February 26, 2012, 9:55 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

I have a little bit of sympathy for both Zeena and Mattie. I think that in some ways both of them are just trying to find a way to survive in a world where a man needs a woman. They each find a...

Latest answer posted March 4, 2012, 6:37 am (UTC)

9 educator answers

Ethan Frome

Communication is an important theme in Ethan Frome because the story shows how little of it actually takes place in the Frome household. This continuous lack of communication only intensifies the...

Latest answer posted March 22, 2011, 12:54 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

Ethan’s marriage to Zeena took place during one of Starkfield’s long, cold winters. It was also after a long period of pain and sorrow, when Ethan was growing desperate between the impending death...

Latest answer posted February 1, 2016, 10:38 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

Ethan doesn't want to face the bleakness of a New England winter by himself, so he impulsively proposes to Zeena to avoid that fate. Winter is traditionaly a season of cold isolation due to the...

Latest answer posted December 31, 2010, 1:42 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

What's chiefly lacking are any signs of comfort, any things that would "make a house a home," as the saying goes. It is a bare bones setup indicating, first, that Frome is poverty stricken, and...

Latest answer posted February 28, 2019, 9:25 pm (UTC)

3 educator answers

Ethan Frome

The imagery that is used in the opening description that the narrator gives us of Ethan Frome is very notable for the way that it presents him as a man who has suffered greatly and has become...

Latest answer posted November 6, 2011, 7:52 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

Having spent a night together with Mattie without the troubling presence of Zeena in Chapter Five, Ethan wakes up the next morning in Chapter Six with a feeling of happiness and joy. Although, as...

Latest answer posted April 26, 2011, 7:58 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

Let's first define ambivalence in itself. It is a state of doubt where the individual experiences conflicting emotions due to his or her own uncertain feelings about a situation. Main character...

Latest answer posted June 18, 2013, 10:44 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

This question relates explicitly to the whole question of point of view and narration, which is particularly interesting in this book. Firstly, because the narrator is an outsider of Starkfield who...

Latest answer posted November 27, 2011, 6:06 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

Chapter Five of this short novel is the pivotal chapter in which Mattie and Ethan share their solitary dinner together and seem to pretend what life would be like if the two of them were the...

Latest answer posted February 25, 2012, 11:33 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

Among the traits of the typical engineer are a strong analytical and logical mind; an engineer has a mind for detail and is technically educated; he also possesses a skilled manner of...

Latest answer posted August 8, 2011, 5:23 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

Money is a very important element in this story, because it drives a lot of the frustrations and unhappiness of the characters. Ethan's mill never makes very much money, so he doesn't have the...

Latest answer posted April 12, 2010, 5:41 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

Ethan and Mattie's love for each other is not selfish or carnal; it represents instead the deep human longing for spiritual connection with another. When Ethan and Mattie first meet, each lives in...

Latest answer posted January 30, 2011, 7:35 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

The basic situational analysis lays in the irony of the situation itself. The author brings us to the present time, when the complete story is revealed to us. At first, we found out that Ethan had...

Latest answer posted December 11, 2010, 9:44 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

As the narrator enters Frome's kitchen, we are told that "the querulous drone ceased". The narrator sees two women in the kitchen, but we don't know who had spoken at the beginning of the scene...

Latest answer posted January 18, 2011, 3:16 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

Ethan Frome

It's reasonable to assume Mattie's first words would have corresponded to what Ruth Hale later says about her: that it's a pity she lived, because if she had died, Ethan might have lived. Given...

Latest answer posted January 26, 2020, 5:13 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

The statement you refer to comes at the beginning of this novel, and serves the purpose of giving us a description of the kind of man Ethan Frome is, but also indicates the kind of frustrations...

Latest answer posted August 22, 2011, 7:52 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

Ethan and Zeena had been married for seven years when Mattie came to keep house for them. Zeena had "fallen silent" after the first year of their marriage, and during the remainder of those seven...

Latest answer posted June 4, 2009, 4:24 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

Ethan does not like Denis Eady as he is jealous of him. Unlike Ethan, who is shy, unhappily married, and struggles to make a living, Eady is a confident, successful young businessman, like his...

Latest answer posted August 24, 2013, 4:10 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

There are a couple of instances where the topic of Mattie's departure is discussed in Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome. However, we first hear about it in chapter II, after Ethan picks Mattie up from...

Latest answer posted April 22, 2012, 9:27 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

Ethan Frome is full of symbolism. The concept of death and mortality, in particular, is represented symbolically throughout this novella. The title character wishes his wife were dead. This longing...

Latest answer posted May 26, 2020, 3:26 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

I believe that it is a combination of the two. He definitely had some odds stacked against him that determined the quality of his life as he lived it. However, everyone is given free agency, and...

Latest answer posted February 8, 2010, 6:14 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

We get more impressions of decay and darkness from the mood of the story than from actual description when learning about the state of the home of Ethan Frome. We know already that he is poor, so...

Latest answer posted November 15, 2010, 2:02 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

Consider how many of these are representative of death -- the gravestones, the broken down house, and the dead vine are obvious, plus we know from reading that the elm tree and the final sled run...

Latest answer posted July 21, 2010, 2:00 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

What is important about Mattie's room in chapter 9 is that it is a stark portrait of a space that is completely devoid of all of the items that made the room Mattie's. When Ethan enters the room...

Latest answer posted January 16, 2011, 9:56 am (UTC)

2 educator answers

Ethan Frome

To really understand the significance of setting in any novel, you might ask yourself what the author might have intended by creating the setting that she did. Edith Wharton didn't set Ethan Frome...

Latest answer posted May 31, 2011, 3:06 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

Zeena's health problems serve her well in several ways. The first is that she uses it as a tool to manipulate attention and pity from those around her. She gets a lot of attention from various...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2010, 1:22 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

We learn about Mattie's feelings directly and indirectly. In chapter 1, Mattie arrives for the first time in Starkfield to take care of her far cousin who is Ethan Frome's sickly wife, Zeena....

Latest answer posted June 19, 2013, 12:07 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

The connection between Ethan and Mattie as it is presented in the novel surpasses the physical. They are drawn to each other as soul mates, finding in each other their own deepest emotions. When...

Latest answer posted January 1, 2011, 6:38 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

In Edith Wharton's novella Ethan Frome, the first suggestion that readers have of Ethan's figurative imprisonment is in the following description of his appearance: it was the careless powerful...

Latest answer posted July 23, 2019, 10:20 pm (UTC)

2 educator answers

Ethan Frome

In Chapter IV after Zeena rather unexpectedly informs Ethan that she needs to see some new doctors in Springfield about her "shooting pains," Ethan is relieved to know that Jotham Powell will drive...

Latest answer posted November 21, 2011, 2:11 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

Even though the narrator of Edith Wharton'sEthan Frome,as well as the main character, are males, the novel could fall under the genre of Feminist literature due to its presentation of women as...

Latest answer posted April 6, 2012, 10:58 am (UTC)

1 educator answer

Ethan Frome

This event is ironic because both the cat and the pickle dish are symbolic of Zeena Frome, but the breaking of the dish occurs while Mattie and Ethan are having their private dinner on a night...

Latest answer posted October 30, 2011, 12:25 pm (UTC)

1 educator answer

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