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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 we can assume as readers that the place was modest, and small. We...

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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 we can assume as readers that the place was modest, and small. We also know that Frome is unhappy, and that Zeena, his wife, is depressing and ill all the time. From this, we can gather than the place is not the jolliest in the world.

We know that

"The shutter-less windows were dark"

A dead cucumber-vine dangled from the porch like the crape streamer tied to the door for a death.

Therefore, Ethan's house is sort of a reflection of the state of mind of the inhabitants: Desolate, sad, depressive.

The house's windows lacked shutters. This may be significant because it means that Ethan gets to always stare out at the world outside while being trapped inside with Zeena. Having no shutters means that he has to face the world daily, and compare the world outside to the sad situation inside.

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