Final Project - Essay - Richard Hernandez Professor Perez...

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Richard HernandezProfessor PerezLITR 221March 22, 2015Ethan Frome and the Pursuit of HappinessAccording to the Constitution, everyone is entitled to the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately, not everyone achieves it. People can struggle and search their entire lives for happiness all the while they will never be happy with what they have. In Edith Wharton’s novella, Ethan Frome, the character of Ethan Frome constantly battles with what he wants, and how to get it. He’s also weak and struggles with what is morally right. Though he is obligated to care for his wife Zeena, the choices he made showed that he was only concerned with his immediate happiness. Ethan always dreamed of becoming something better. He never wanted his life to be all about the farm like his family. He wanted to leave that life behind him, as well as the small village of Starkfield, for the opportunity to live in a town and a chance to do something more with his life. So, Ethan headed off to school to Worcester to study engineering. Regrettably, Ethan’s father passed away prematurely a year into his studies, and he was forced to quit and return home to take care of his mother and the family farm. As time went on his mother became ill, and his cousin Zenobia Pierce came to help him care for her. Ethan was happy to have her in the house with him and to have another person to talk to. Zeena took over the care of his which left Ethan the freedom to go about his business. This, however, magnified the sense of what he owed her. It wasn’t until his mother passed, and Zeena was preparing to leave that Ethan realized that he would be left all alone. Upon this
realization, and before he really knew what he was doing, Ethan asked Zeena to stay with him there on the farm. “He had often thought since that it would not have happened if his mother had died in spring instead of winter…” (Edith Warton, 1911). After they were married, it was agreed by both that as soon as everything was straightened from Mrs. Frome’s illness, they would sell the farm and the saw-mil and move to a town. There, Ethan could fulfil his dream of becoming an engineer and leaving the dreadful placeof Starkfield. In Ethan’s mind, his pursuit of happiness would lead him to become an engineer, and to live in towns where they held lectures and libraries. “A slight engineering job in Florida, put in his way during his period of study at Worcester, increased his faith in his ability as well as

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