Ethan Frome a Story of Solitude and Domestic Tragedy.
Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome is a domestic tragedy. The three main characters
are Ethan Frome, Zeena Frome and Mattie Silver. The presence of poverty and grim
silence were all present in the novel.
The story takes place in a freezing winter landscape, Starkfield, Massachusetts,
where the lives of all characters are constructed and developed. At each turn the
circumstances of rural poverty combined with the bitterness of isolation with the people
who live in the town ofStarkfield lead the main characters to a life of a
tragic resignation. "Thence, still hugging the shadow, he edged his way cautiously
forward to the nearest window, holding back his straight spare body and craning his neck
till he got a glimpse of the room." (Wharton 's 2)
As a result of their miserable existence they grow hard and mean-spirit
rarely communicating except with complaint and anger ."only on rare
occasions that one of the older men of the place detained him for a word." (intro.)
The town folks tend to avoid them even reluctant to speak freely of the ruined lives which
Ethan, Zeena and Mattie have to carry with. Even though Ethan has a piercing presence
causing everyone to notice him no matter where he goes. "Even then he was the most
striking figure in Starkfield" (Intro.)
Ethan Frome lives a tragic and sad life based on solitude and oppression. "He has
been in Starkfield to many winters" (intro.)