Ethan Frome Symbolism

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Hamza Suhail Professor Ashraf English 130 30 December 2017 Quiz #4 Elizabeth Ammon’s “The Myth of Imperial Whiteness” and Kenneth Bernard’s “Imagery and Symbolism in Ethan Frome” both have two vastly different perspectives on the same work of literature. Ammons goes into extensive detail to support the concept of racism that exists in Ethan Frome. Through the rich usage of symbolism, dynamic and static characters as well as imagery, Bormand offers his analysis on the characterization of Ethan Frome as well. Through the comparison of each critical work’s beginning, or introduction and conclusion, the variations in style and approach are quickly perceived. In the case of Elizabeth Ammons, she introduces her analysis by stating that Edith Wharton, the author of Ethan Frome, incorporates a phrase that hints at her history and personal interests as a proponent of white supremacy. Wharton writes, “white people trapped... on the white landscape.” Ammons goes into further detail by contending Wharton’s belief in the supremacy of the white race and thus, the inferiority of all people of color. Ammons proves her claims by providing supporting evidence from the text to highlight Wharton’s love for white people. She does not stop there - she also analyzes Wharton’s other works and the inherent racism present in them. In her comparison of Summer (1917) and Ethan Frome, she writes that “summer is almost entirely allusive in its presentation of race anxiety; however, Ethan Frome uses it as the background upon which to project its tragedy.” Ammon’s introduction is wrought full of passages from Wharton’s works in which racism is evident. On the other hand, Kenneth Bernard discusses how the literary elements present in Ethan Frome provide ... ... middle of paper ... ...he purpose of her work, while Ammons solely focuses on the racism in Ethan Frome. Although she dissects the novel as well, she also supports her analysis using previous works authored by Wharton to prove the racist perspective of Ethan Frome. This is evident as it is present in both the introduction and conclusion of her work. Both analyses of Ethan Frome, Elizabeth Ammon’s “The Myth of Imperial Whiteness” and Kenneth Bernard’s “Imagery and Symbolism in Ethan Frome” are fundamentally different in their approach and reasoning to try and understand Wharton’s book. While Bernard writes to facilitate a deeper understanding for readers of Ethan Frome, Ammons’ purpose is to unmask the inherent racism in Wharton’s writing. Using extensive supporting detail, both authors manage to support their theses and provide refreshing new perspectives on Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome.
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