Essay on Wharton's Ethan Frome: Nature

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Nature in Ethan Frome

Every winter frigid white bullets, squalling gusts, and icicle shards swaddle the town of Starkfield in a frosty white glaze. It is easy to understand why the people emerge from this six month siege like starved troops capitulating without shelter. Most people evacuate the premises immediately after suffering through a devastating winter, but not Ethan Frome. Circumstances hindered the flight of this man. As one retired stage driver remarked, "Guess he's been in Starkfield too many winters. Most of the smart ones get away."

The statement by Harmon Gow, a resident of Starkfield, relates to Ethan Frome, the protagonist of the novel, Ethan Frome. This book pieces together the enigmatic life of a man bound by the shackles of silence and isolation. By deftly heightening suspense and foreshadowing plot, Edith Wharton explores nature's degeneration of human spirit and vitality.

Mr. Gow's quote delves into two integral aspects of the book: how the unrelenting blows of nature corrode, yet intertwine with man's spirit, and how the seas...