Essay on Wharton's Ethan Frome: Ethan Frome as Fairy Tale
758 Words4 Pages
Ethan Frome as Fairy Tale
Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome is vividly real to its readers, its issues continually relevant to society, but through its structure and moral lessons, it is intended to be read as a 'fairy tale'.
Elizabeth Ammons discusses this 'fairy tale' in her article "Ethan Frome as a Fairy Tale," explaining that the novel is a "vision" of the narrator's. As evidenced by the introductory chapter, the narrator truly has few clues as to the real story of Ethan Frome, and these clues often are diverse, and what we are about to read is nothing more than a figment of the narrator's imagination based on certain facts he has learned. Ammons comments, "while Ethan's story will appear real and we can believe that the tragedy did happen, the version here is a fabrication . . . one of many possible narratives" (146). The story is fiction, not fact, and is mainly intended to entertain and instruct more than inform. Fairy tales themselves are by their very nature documents concerned with morality, never actual events. The psychological impact of Ethan Frome is far more lasting than the plot itself, for the plot is fictional but the issues are real.
The characters of Ethan Frome also fit the mold for fairy tales. ...
... middle of paper ...
...their stomachs when they saw Ethan's feelings for Zeena, how they cheered their love on despite knowing that Ethan was already married, and how they cried to see Mattie, once vivacious, now paralyzed. Ethan Frome is a powerful fairy tale because we learn that in stories, as in real life, success isn't always guaranteed.
Works Cited and Consulted
Ammons, Elizabeth "Ethan Frome as a Fairy Tale" Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1995.
Bell, Millicent. The Cambridge Companion to Edith Wharton. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Wharton, Edith. Ethan Frome. New York: Penguin Group, 1993.