Ethan Frome Critical Lens Essay

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Although they survive the accident, both are permanently crippled.

As the story returns to the present time, the narrator learns that Mattie is a demanding invalid, Zeena is her embittered caretaker, and Frome is forced to provide for both women, who resent him.

He suggests to Mattie that they take a sled ride together before parting.

Upon reaching the bottom of the hill, they share a kiss.

Nevertheless, Wharton finished her first novella at the age of fourteen and anonymously published some verse in the Atlantic Monthly four years later.

As an upper-class initiate, she witnessed the shift of power and wealth from the hands of New York’s established gentry to the Industrial Revolutions nouveau riche, whom she considered to be cultural philistines obsessed with status rather than character and upon whom she modeled many of her most memorable fictional characters and situations.In 1934 she published her autobiography, A Backward Glance. Bricesous-Foret on August 11, 1937, leaving behind the unfinished manuscript of her final novel, The Buccaneers, which was published in 1938.Ethan Frome begins with a frame narrative told by a young, unnamed narrator who has come to the small, isolated New England village of Starkfield to work at a local power station.A mainstay of high school English curriculums due to its relative brevity, vivid symbolism, and concise language, among the many factors that recommend it to a younger readership, Ethan Frome (1911) remains among Wharton’s most recognizable and widely read novels.Best known as a novelist of manners, Wharton chronicled the cruel excesses of American genteel society both at home and abroad at the beginning of the twentieth century in works ranging from The House of Mirth (1905) to The Age of Innocence (1920) and The Buccaneers (1938).He soon believes that his love might be reciprocated, and he dreams of running away with her.Zeena suspects her husband’s desires and decides to send Mattie away to an uncertain future.Following the armistice, Wharton resumed her literary career, and in 1921 she became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for her novel The Age of Innocence, which she followed with The Mother’s Recompense (1925) and the best-selling Twilight Sleep (1927).During the last decade of her life, Wharton continued to write short stories and novels, many of which reflect her growing disillusionment with postwar America and the Jazz Age, most notably the novels Hudson River Bracketed (1929) and The Gods Arrive (1932).Once she settled in France, however, Wharton produced some of the most notable works of her career, including the short story collections The Hermit and the Wild Woman (1908), Tales of Men and Ghosts (1910), and Xingu and Other Stories (1916) as well as the novels Ethan Frome, The Reef (1912), The Custom of the Country (1913), and Summer (1917).During World War I, Wharton organized war relief efforts for refugees, for which she earned the French Legion of Honor, and wrote propaganda for the Allies as well as the undistinguished war novels The Marne (1918) and A Son at the Front (1923).


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