Essay on Wharton's Ethan Frome: Development of the Novel and Characters

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The Development of the Novel and Characters In the novel Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton, the character of Ethan Frome plays an important role in the development of the rest of the book. He has several character traits which distinguish him from the other main characters. Also, there are many factors which play against him throughout the novel. The physical appearance of Ethan Frome played a significant part in creating his character. He was a tall, thin man. He had dark colored hair and dark eyes. He seemed a little rough around the edges and the scar on the side of his face was another of his distinguishing marks. At the very beginning of the book, he is 52 years old, but is described as looking much older than that. Throughout the main part of the book, which is a flashback, Frome is in his 20's. After the sledding accident with Mattie, he is left with bad vision in his right eye, which causes him trouble sometimes. Ethan Frome stutters and speaks in abbreviated forms sometimes. Most of the people in the town and in the novel speak in abbreviated forms. The actual town itself and the surroundings of Frome are harsh and cold, especially in winter when the book takes place. These harsh surroundings make Frome who he is and give him a "careless powerful look". Speech also renders some importance in this novel. A few examples of abbreviated words are: "Wurst kind", and "More'n enough", and lastly "Oh, I ain't afr'd". All of these slang words and also many more were used throughout the novel. This misuse of words shows that Frome and the other characters were not well educated. The work was more important than learning and also, Ethan Frome's p... ... middle of paper ... As they stood in each others arms, they experienced a sense of ease that neither of them had ever felt before. They had led hard lives and this was the end. Theirs dreams were crushed, yet these moments were very important in the course of their lives. This was also the point in which they decided that if they couldn't live with each other, they wouldn't live at all. They decided to commit suicide mutually, and failed. It may have been better off if they had succeeded, because they led miserable lives after the accident. The novel Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton, created a vivid character image for the actual character of Ethan Frome. His role was depicted by physical appearance, speech, behavior and motivation, response and change, worst life experience, and best life experience. All of these themes help develop the novel and other characters.

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