1 is waiting to be filled in by the rest of the story. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton opens to a bleak New England winter in Starkfield. Ruth, who has the last word of the novel, suggests that Ethan and Mattie surviving the sled accident was, as they say, a fate worse than death. She gives them their night alone together, but she's about to pull the rug out from under their feet. The question is, will Ethan go with her or not? The ending is about as ironic as things get.
Whatever it was, it, combined with the change (for the worse) in Mattie's personality, leads Ruth to speak the novella's final lines: There was one day, about a week after the accident, when they all thought Mattie couldn't live. Zeena tells Ethan she wants Mattie on the next train out, and Ethan's dreams shatter like Zeena's red pickle dish (a wedding gift). This impractical desire comes true in a hideous way. She says it's because dead women "have got to hold their tongues." In other words, if Ethan and those women were dead, he wouldn't have to listen to them talk.
In terms of stupidity I'd say they do deserve their fate. It's pretty clear that Ethan at least is head over heels for young Mattie, which is certainly a conflict because he's married to Zeena. Ethan becomes furious as he realizes he has fallen in love with Mattie. The suspense in this novella opens up the moral questions being posed.
Imagery and Symbolism in Ethan Frome. 2018 Shmoop University, Inc. Ethan resided in Starkfield for too many winters. Set during a harsh, sluggish winter in Starkfield, Massachusetts, Ethan and his sickly wife live in a dilapidated and unusually forlorn and stunted New-England farmhouse (Wharton 18). Something like that is going on with the narrator. Let's move on to Ruth's statement that everyone in the Frome house would be better off dead. Frome once lived an unhealthy and decrepit life. Ruth seems incredibly biased toward Ethan, but she also sounds like somebody who doesn't like women very much. tags: Characterization of Setting. Nonetheless, Edith Wharton presents a skewed romantic story filled with irony, turning it upside down. Is this a comment on views toward women living at the turn of the century in America? This friendship arouses Zeenas jealousy and so she evicts Mattie from the house.
Strong Essays 1355 words (3.9 pages) - Ethan Frome Ethan Frome, a novel by Edith Wharton, is set in the bleak Massachusetts town of Starkfield. Actually serving the people she tormented sounds about right. First of all, obviously, Ethan lacked money. In the Prologue the narrator introduces us to the figure that has captured his curiosity and imagination, Ethan Frome. Like in most surprise endings, irony plays a vital role serving as the source of these twisted plots. He develops a curiosity towards Ethan Frome and the smash-up that he hears about in bits and pieces.