Wharton 4 starkfield had become like a prison for

This preview shows page 3 - 5 out of 7 pages.

like Ethan Frome?” (Wharton 4) Starkfield had become like a prison for Ethan Frome, once his wife became ill, he felt obligated to stay there and never left to fulfill his dreams of becoming an engineer. This plays a large role in why Ethan is the way he is, and just like Harmon Gow said in the beginning of the book "Guess he's been in Starkfield too many winters. Most of the smart ones get away." (Wharton 2) The struggles that Ethan faces in his life are a strong and direct reflection of the environment he lives in. The harsh and unforgiving weather in Starkfield is a symbolic representation of the not only the town, but the psychological well being of Ethan Frome and the other inhabitants of the rural settlement as well. 3
The town of Starkfield is modeled after New England; no specific place really comes to mind except for that general region of the country. Starkfield is just and average farming community with not much of interest. Starkfield is thought of as being impossible to leave a place full of hardships and struggles. The other town mentioned in this story is where Zeena travels to pick up here medications, Springfield. When thinking of the word stark, thoughts of bare in appearance come to mind; Starkfield seems to be a fitting name for the home of Ethan. Zeena travels to Springfield to pick up her medications, which seems fitting for a place of hope, a place that gives her something that Starkfield cannot. Springfield was put in this story to help emphasize that where Ethan and Zeena resided, was ultimately the absolute worst place to live throughout the winter season. ( “Analysis of Major Characters”) The church and its views seem to be the heart of the community in Starkfield which perhaps constrain Ethan’s desires, especially Ethan’s desire for a woman that is not his wife. This moral conflict does not come from Ethan himself, but from the society in which he lives. When Ethan has that night alone with Mattie in his kitchen, he is reminded of his duties as a married man. Although Ethan may be physically strong, psychologically he is very weak. He decides that he does not possess the strength or the courage to face this battle between his personal desires for Mattie and his moral obligations to Zeena. This deciding factor weighed heavily on his decision to ride that sled into the elm tree with Mattie; he figured that this would be an easy way out of the chaos.

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture