Ethan Frome

chapter 6

How does Wharton establish suspense and tension in the after-breakfast kitchen scene?

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Ethan's plans is to get his work done early enough so that he can buy some glue and fix the dish before Zeena arrives.Chapter 6 addresses the theme of the environment's power over men. Nature makes Ethan's plans impossible; the sleet makes work arduous and slow, and two strong men fumble with the logs. The wet roads slow down his delivery, and chance circumstances make it difficult to find the glue. Ethan cannot make it back in time, but through no fault of his own. Throughout the novel, humans are unable to carry out their plans, great or small. Some chance event or natural occurrence blocks the human will at every turn. From Ethan's desire to leave town to the attempt to buy glue to the doomed passion between Ethan and Mattie, the novel is full of frustrated desires and unfulfilled plans.