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Ethan Frome Literary Analysis

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There is a difference between love and true love. In Ethan Frome written by Edith Wharton the readers sees the protagonist, Ethan Frome stuck between choosing his wife who he fell in love with years ago or his true love Mattie, a family member of Zeena. Mattie offers a young, spontaneous life style that Ethan craves. He knows this is wrong and holds back from admitting his true love for Mattie to Mattie and Zeena, on the other hand Zeena offers him a quiet, simple lifestyle but has the challenge of unstable health. To begin, Ethans love for Mattie is secret, it is hidden from Zeena and from each other. At many points in the novel Ethan finds him self falling for Mattie’s “hopeful young” (17) self, but is battling conflict on whether to profess his love for her or stay faithful to Zeena. The problem is he “had no right to show his feelings” (24). It is not Ethans place to show them because of the obligation he has toward Zeena and how she took care of Ethan’s sick mom. Therefore he “attached a fantastic importance to every change in her look and tone” (24). When seeing her talking to another man “he felt a pang at the thought that these two need not hide their happiness” (42). Realizing this he knew he was living a lie and quickly has to make a choice. All conflicts come to a resolution. Ethan knows his …show more content…
Zeena offers Ethan a simple, typical lifestyle while Mattie offers Ethan the young, adventurous love he is missing. Ethan often brings up in the novel how he treasures Mattie’s every word but remains quiet because he had no place in showing his feelings due to the obligation he felt for staying with Zeena. This conflict teaches the reader that love is a dangerous endeavor that takes time and honesty. Love is tragic, a person will make sacrifices for those they truly love, but most importantly love is different than true

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