Books and Movies Reviews

Ethan Frome

In the novel Ethan Frome, silence represents the setting, and the emotions and feelings of the characters. When Edith Wharton wrote Ethan Frome, she wanted the reader to observe silence as a major motif in the story. The silence can be interpreted as part of the theme of the story. It is the silence that creates the sharp tension between the members of the Frome household. It is this silence that keeps Ethan and Mattie apart. This silence also draws Mattie and Ethan closer together by impeding their ability to show their true feelings for each other.
One instance where Wharton uses silence to express the setting is in the beginning of the story, when the narrator says, "… I had been struck down by the contrast between the vitality of the climate and the deadness of the community." (Pg. 3) The setting can also been seen in the narrator'sfirst encounter with Ethan Frome. Thefirst image the reader develops of Ethan is when the narrator describes Frome as being a sort of "taciturn" and introverted person when hefirst encounters him in the post office (pg. 2).
Silence is used to restrict the passion that Ethan and Mattie crave to show for each other. This is shown when Ethan and Mattie are together, at almost any time in the story, particularly at the house.They so desire to show their affections for each other but they are constrained by the ever-present specter of Zeena, as depicted on page 37. Zeena's emotions are also represented by silence. Zeena does not show a great deal of emotion, but one can infer that she is very suspicious about everything that Ethan and Mattie do, together or alone. One instance where the reader can understand this suspiciousness is when she surprises Ethan while he is at the churn. (Pg. 15)
The silence can be used to express the feelings or ways in which characters are actin

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