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The Tragic Life of Ethan Frome

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The Tragic Life of Ethan Frome

Have you experienced a tragic event with an unexpecting ending? Wharton was born on January 24, 1862 in New York City. Her literary passion embarrassed her family. Later her novel Ethan Frome was published in 1911. She later died in 1937.Therefore, in Ethan Frome Edith Wharton uses characterization, symbolism and setting to explore when a character confronts the demand of a private passion that conflicts with his or her responsibilities.

First, Wharton uses characterization to explain a tragic conflict. For example "Guess he's been in Starkville too many winters" is a good quote.(Wharton 13) Its hinting that Ethan used to have some life about him. Now he's real dull and boring. Another example is "Sickness and trouble; that's what Ethan had his plate filled up with."(Wharton 23) Here Zeena is and the trouble Ethan has to go through. Ethan spends all his time working and taking care of Zeena.

Furthermore Wharton uses a lot of symbolism in the novel. In "A dead cucumber vine hanging from the porch like the crapes streamer"(Wharton31) is a good example. Its hint about a death in the story. Even though there isn't one the result is just as bad as death. And another example is "drew forth a girl who had already a wound and cherry- colored fascinator about her head."(Wharton 47) It is describing Mattie in her passionate colored scarf. It's saying she is full of life but, later she becomes the opposite.

There is so much setting in the book. For example "The snow had ceased and a flash of watery sunlight exposed the house on the scope above us in its plaintive ugliness."(Wharton11) It talks about snow so you know its cold there. Also it explains his house. It says his house is just an ugly sight. And this quote again "Guess he's been in Starkville too many winter" (Wharton13) has another meaning. It means the place can change you. Ethan stayed too long and he's a sad, dull person now.

In conclusion in Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton uses characterization, symbolism and setting to explore when a character confronts the demand of a private passion that conflicts with his or her responsibilities. As previously explained Wharton uses characterization in the book. Zeena is troublesome to the family. As a result Ethan is always gloomy. Also there is symbolism. The book ends with a result that's worse than death. And Mattie is thought to be a great person but ends up being the complete opposite. Lastly there is setting. Starkville can change a man for the worse.

Works Cited

Wharton, Edith. Ethan Frome. New York, 1911.

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