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Ethan Frome is fine example of realism and regionalism as well. Realism reflects skepticism and doubt, scenarios that are more likely to happen in day-to-day life. The 4
opposite of romanticism, where authors illustrate hope and optimism. Regionalism in literature is where the author shows through a variety of ways, the particular region of thecountry this story is taking place. Ethan Frome is a prime example of both of these movements. When Zeena tells Ethan that her illness is getting severe. "I've got complications," she said. (Wharton 56). This line has characteristics of realism because ofZeena doubting her life here, and there is no mention of hope for her health to improve.Not only Ethan, but also other characters in this novella provide a very unusualdialect, which would be normal for this period in New England. Which is an excellentexample of regionalism, and a great depiction of the regionalism is with Harmon Gow’saccent. "Wust kind," my informant assented. "More'n enough to kill most men. But theFromes are tough. Ethan'll likely touch a hundred." (Wharton 2) Harmon Gow’s accenthere is represented by the unusual spelling and punctuation used, giving the reader anidea of what he sounded like. The regionalism used in Ethan Frome is a significantcontributor to the realism of the story. (“Analysis of Major Characters”)The characteristics described above and the realism and regionalism of the storyare what make Ethan Frome uniquely American. There are many issues within the storyincluding the setting, the dialect, imagery, the cultural influence that make this characterAmerican. The hardships and struggles of Ethan Frome in Starkfield trying to make aliving as an isolated farmer with terrible winters, all while trying to take care of hisungrateful and demanding wife are another contributing factor that make Ethan Fromeuniquely American. The winters or Starkfield and the hardships of it’s inhabitants are agreat example of day-to-day life in New England during the 19thcentury and this plays alarge role in why the character of Ethan Frome is uniquely American.5
Works CitedWharton, Edith. Ethan Frome. New York: Scribner, 1939“Analysis of Major Characters” SparkNotes. n.d. Web. Retrieved February 21, 2015 from.7