Naturally, the first place to look for proof of her claim is in her protagonist, Ethan Frome, a young man turned jaded and wrinkled who couldn 't quite reap the rewards of being kind and caring towards others. At a young age, Ethan Frome was forced to take upon himself the enduring task of caring for his dying parents and this inquisitive and bright youth 's life was changed drastically from a promising future as a college educated man in a revolutionary world to a closed-off man struggling to keep his farm on its feet. One of Wharton 's greatest indicators of the enormous impact this had on his life is depicted by the wording she chooses to describe the situation into which he was thrown into. On page 14, Wharton expresses that, "[Frome 's] father 's death, and the misfortunes following it, had put a premature end to Ethan 's studies…they had fed his fancy and made him aware of huge cloudy meanings be...
... middle of paper ...
...ent how settling down before one 's time, "prematurely" as Frome had it, is bound to bring sickness to one 's soul, and the sickness that plagues Zeena 's is the bitterness of staying stuck in the grueling life she found herself in.
In an era when reading of ambitious protagonists taking risks, discovering and following their aspirations claims dominance among all great novels and literature, it 's quite an experience to read a gritty anti-coming-of-age. When Edith Wharton decides to send a message to her readers no one misses the grand picture. Ethan Frome is the epitome of a work of literature that screams for its message to be heard. Wharton expresses the human necessity to continue to grow, dream and prosper by explicitly depicting the consequences that arise from failing to do so and makes it clear that moving forward is the only way humans can continue living.
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