Ethan Frome

The Importance of Setting in Ethan Frome and Things Fall Apart College

Ethan Frome and Things Fall Apart are found in two dramatically different settings, with each plot relying heavily on the setting of the novel to tell its story. The setting of a story is a broad term and can contain many layers. While each story may not rely on the same elements of the setting, they each pull from different areas in order to bring their messages to the audience. The historical time period, location, and season all factor into these two stories and make them what they are.

Ethan Frome used the winter season as a major symbol throughout the novel. Without the harshness of winter, Edith Wharton would not be able to tell the same tragic story. The narrator describes Ethan Frome as a very lonely man, which he explained “was not merely the result of his personal plight, tragic as I guessed that to be, but had in it, as harmon Gow had hinted, the profound accumulated cold of many Starkfield winters” (Wharton 10). The stifling cold seems to emotionally repress not only the main character, but the whole town of Starkfield. Throughout the entire novel, readers do not get a glimpse into the warmer months, as winter seems to take control of their lives and acts as a force that holds them back. The bitterness of this cold...

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