Theme Of Social Tragedy In Ethan Frome

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In a drama containing forbidden love, heartbreak, and loneliness, Ethan Frome clearly exhibits social tragedy. Social tragedy is a series of unfortunate events involving several characters in a novel that have problems in their social, love, or family life. This is a major aspect of the novel that leads up to a dramatic finale that ends in tragedy for the characters. From this aspect, Ethan Frome incorporates the concept of light vs. dark to explain the emotions and events in the story. The social tragedy of Ethan Frome connects with the concept of light vs. dark through the author’s usage of the imagery, the emotions of the characters, and the impact of the imagery on the events in the drama.
Within Ethan Frome, the author, Edith Wharton,
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The characters’ feelings involve the light and darkness in the environment and they further foreshadow the social tragedy of each event. When Ethan rides his sleigh to go back to the farm after dropping off some lumber, he describes “the afternoon coming to an end” and he sees Denis Eady going in the direction of the farm (Wharton 41). Ethan’s heart begins to beat fast and he relaxes his emotions by saying he is “ashamed of the storm of jealousy in his breast” (Wharton 41). The darkness of the night overshadows Ethan to become jealous of someone going in the direction of his lover and this darkness presents a dark act of his jealousy to control Mattie which exemplifies the connection to the social tragedy of the drama. As Ethan goes home to meet Mattie for dinner, he is “suffocated with a sense of well-being” (Wharton 44). The light of the fire and lamp provide the longing warmth Ethan has been looking for. The lights around the dinner table, which are accompanied with his favorite foods and Mattie in a beautiful dress, makes Ethan create a growing relationship with Mattie. These emotions that Ethan demonstrates are associated with the light and darkness of the environment and this connection allows for social tragedy to become apparent in the novel. With the emotions of the characters, the drama creates an impact on each of the characters that…show more content…
The concept of the light and darkness provides depth and detail through the author’s specific words and phrases. This concept alludes to the emotions of the characters in different environments and this concept foreshadows a deep impact on the characters of the drama. The light and darkness encompass the imagery of the novel and this concept explains characters’ mentality and desires. The concept of the light and darkness provides an emotional level to the characters while evoking a connection to the inevitable social tragedy of the
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