Ethan Frome Questions and Answers
by Edith Wharton

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What are some examples of foreshadowing in Ethan Frome?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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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 hill. But their tears hint at something more unpleasant to come. They both know that this is the last time they will ever see each other again, and they cannot live without each other. So, the next time they board the sled, we know that there won't be a happy ending.

Indeed, that fateful, suicidal sled ride is foreshadowed in chapter 1 when Mattie and Ethan discuss the elm tree and the death it's brought to others who've gone sledding down the hill:

She lingered, pressing closer to his side. "Ned Hale and Ruth Varnum came just as near running into the big elm at the bottom. We were all sure they were killed." Her shiver ran down his arm. "Wouldn't it have been too awful? They're so happy!"

Death is foreshadowed a lot in Ethan Frome , though no one in the story actually dies. What we have instead...

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amy-lepore eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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udonbutterfly | Student

Two examples of foreshadowing that I remember in Ethan Frome would be when Ethan and Mattie were talking about a couple that was recently engaged and how they almost ran into a tree. This foreshadowed Ethan and Mattie's crash they have towards the end of the book. There is also when Ethan talks about how ill Mattie looked when she initial began to live with them and slowly she becomes radiant and full of life. This would foreshadows her permanent injuries that she has after the wreck.