Ethan Frome Readers Response I thought the novel Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton was one of the best books that I have ever read. When I started reading the book I thought that it would be about the accident that Ethan experienced instead of the incidents behind it. The novel is also well written, Edith Wharton did a fine job writing a book that I never wanted to put down. I felt as though the story was being told to me and that I actually knew Ethan and Mattie. As well I enjoyed the way that Edith Wharton used a lot of adjectives to make the scenes and story come alive, for example in the end of the story during the sledding scene I actually felt as though I was on the sled with Ethan and Mattie.Only two things in the novel bothered me, the fact that in the beginning of the novel I thought that I would find out what happened to Ethan in more detail and I also wanted Mattie and Ethan to run off together.
In the opening of the novel, I thought that I would learn more about the accident and when I finished the novel I thought that I was left hanging when Edith Wharton really did not tell you what happened after she made it seem as thought that is what the novel is about. I also wanted Mattie and Ethan to live happily ever after, maybe it was the female in me but I think that they should have run off together instead of being sensible. In the end of the novel, I was really surprised to find out that Ethan is still married to Zeena, I thought that Zeena might leave Ethan and then Ethan and Mattie could get married. I did notice some of the symbolism that Edith Wharton uses in her novel for example, that there is striking symbolism in the imagery that the author uses, primarily that of winter which depicts coldness, detachment, bleakness and seclusion. I also think that Edith Wharton chose winter as a theme in this novel because it symbolizes emotional and physical isolation, and death that surrounds Ethan.
Similarly, the name of the town, Starkfield, is symbolic of Ethan’s boring life. Just as Ethans house was once new and beautiful it is now worn by many harsh winters in Starkfield, as was Ethan after the accident. The ravages of winter destroy both Ethans will to survive and the buildings that Ethan constructed to shield him from the cruel environment of Massachusetts. The part that I liked the best in the novel was in the end when Mattie and Ethan decided to go sledding.
In the fresh snow they put away their sorrow and regret for just one moment of joy. I thought that Ethan and Mattie kissing in the same position that Ned Hale and Ruth Varnum did, symbolized the passion that they experienced throughout the entire novel. Furthermore I felt that deciding to commit a double suicide is an odd way to prove their love for each other and also in a weird way romantic.When Ethan decides not to run into the tree head on I did feel a great amount of relief because I did not want Ethan or Mattie to die. Not only is the symbolism dark but so is the end of the story and it makes Ethan Frome a different type of a love story.
It is not all fireworks and flowers, I enjoy a break from the norm, and that is what I liked so much about Ethan Frome. Book Reports.