Ethan Frome

Choices and Limitations: Understanding the Mentality of Ethan Frome Himself 10th Grade

Is the cause of fate an attitude toward life, or is it the people or places one has known? Edith Wharton shows within her book, Ethan Frome, how choices determine one’s fate. Ethan Frome is a story about a man who marries a woman whom he does not love, and he soon falls in love with his wife’s cousin. As the plot unfolds, Ethan is forced to make decisions that will either bring him to the life of love he is looking for, or it will lead him down the path of defeat and failure. The choices he makes will affect the way his future is revealed, and the author, Edith Wharton, examines and explains this through her plot, the conflicts that occur, and the use of irony within the story in order to provide understanding to why this theme is true.

The choices that Ethan makes are main steps in the plot that allow an opening for the next step further in the book. When “He asked [Zeena] to stay with him” (Wharton 29), Ethan creates his first choice that leads to the next. This indicates how marrying Zeena, turns his life around as he takes a different path. In addition to that, instead of falling in love with the girl he did marry, Ethan starts loving Mattie, causing the plot to move even further on. “Oh Matt I can’t let you go!” (Wharton...

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