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Ethan Frome: the Simple ManA novel Ethan Fromewritten by Edith Wharton. The story is set in the town of Starkfield, Massachusetts. As the reader we look at three characters, Ethan, Zeena and Mattie, and how they spend their lives together. The reader can see the points of view for each character and what is becoming of each character. Are these three people living the all American way or just living. The reader will see that Ethan Frome is a simple, hard working man who was dedicated to living the American dream but ends up losing his dream because of his devotion to his wife, whom he does not love, and his feelings of love for another woman.One my believe that to be an American you must be born in American. That is not true. According the Merriam Webster dictionary, being an American is "a person born, raised or living in the U.S. (Merriam-Webster). James Truslow Adams wrote the term "American Dream" in 1931 in his book The Epic of America as "that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement (Wikipedia). Ethan was a man who was trying to do just that. As we look back in time to Ethan's story. Twenty-four years earlier, when Ethan was a young man he was pursuing an education in the sciences. The death of his father made his return necessary to run the family farm and help to support his mother. His mother soon became ill and that is when his distant cousin, Zeena, came to care for her. When his mother died, Ethan married Zeena out of loneliness not love. Zeena had no home and no place to go after his mother's passing. They were both lonely so they married. As time passed Zeena became ill and Ethan was struggling with taking care of the farm and of his wife Zeena. Ethan is struggling to make it as a farmer while his wife, Zeena, has complaints of illness.As time passes they decide to have Zeena's cousin, Mattie, comes to live with the them. Mattie 1
was to be there to help Zeena and to help with the household chores. But Mattie and Ethan develop a growing friendship that turns into more. Zeena, begins to become jealous of Mattie and Ethan's friendship. In the story Ethan is married to Zeena but his wife's cousin, Mattie Silver, is the woman he truly loves. The two women are different in all aspects. Zeena, who is a sickly, shrewish woman well beyond her years and Mattie, who is a caring, loving, young girl who is beautiful.