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Ethan Frome

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					Ethan Frome




     Background Notes
Author Biography

   Edith Wharton was born in New York City in
    1862
   She traveled a great deal as a child
   Married into New York society but grew
    bored of social scene
   Most of her works discuss the hypocrisy &
    destructiveness of New York society
Setting of Novel

   Starkfield, Massachusetts in the 1880’s

   Small town

   Winter
Main Characters

   Ethan Frome

   Zenobia “Zeena” Frome

   Mattie Silver

   Unnamed narrator
Ethan

   As a young man, he was afraid of being alone for the
    winter after his mother died, so he married an older
    woman
   Responsible
   No social skills
   Shy & naïve
   Marries at age 21
   28 at time of the “accident”
   52 at the end of the novel
Zeena

   Emotionless wife of Ethan
   Can’t express her feelings
   Frigid, old, depressed
   Hypochondriac
   Manipulative
   Suspicious of Ethan
   Married at 28
   35 at the time of the “accident”
   59 at the end of the novel
Mattie

   Young, flirtatious
   Cousin of Zeena
   Good listener
   Penniless orphan
   Spinster (unmarried woman)
   20 when she comes to the Frome’s house
   21 at the time of the “accident”
Background

   Ethan had to drop out of college to take care
    of a sick father
   After his father died, his mother got sick
   Zeena comes to help Ethan take care of his
    sick mother
   When his mother dies, his fear of being alone
    forces him to marry Zeena
Frame Story Definition

   Main story is told within another story
   The frame story begins the book, then the
    main story is told, the ending of the book
    returns to the beginning frame story as the
    conclusion
First frame

   The frame story is the narrator coming to
    Starkfield to work as well as learning about
    Ethan and his life. The introduction is told
    from the narrator’s first person point of view
Inner frame

   The inner story, Ethan’s story, begins in
    Chapter 1 and the point of view changes to
    third person omniscient

   Ethan’s story takes place 24 years earlier,
    and explains the events leading up to the
    “accident”
Final frame

   The final chapter, the conclusion, returns to
    the narrator’s voice in first person to
    complete the frame started in the introduction

				
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posted:10/9/2011
language:English
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