how does the narrators imagery establish the readers first impression off ethan?
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Having already inserted the fictional narrator between the reader and the story, the author also makes the narrator a second-hand witness of the events. He has seen nothing of Frome's story. Nor has he gotten a complete account: he acknowledges, before we begin Chapter 1, that the following is a "vision" of Frome's story. Wharton does not attempt to sell her work as journalism, or documentary-style fiction. She is admitting to the distance between herself, the reader, and the story and world of Ethan Frome. In acknowledging the distance, she frees herself to use imagination as the means for getting to the heart of Frome's story. This is a "vision" of Frome's tragedy, which will communicate the parts of the story that Wharton finds most compelling.