There was something bleak and unapproachable in his

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bleak and unapproachable in his face" (3). The key word in thatquotation is bleak, that is a word used quite often to describe winter. Ethan at this point has no regard for his physical appearance, it s as if all he isdoing is trying to get through another winter. The narrator notes, " During the early part of my stay I had been struck, the climate and the deadnessof the community" (5). Wharton emphasizes the rigor of life in a harsh community with its cold winters and its bleakness. The whole community islifeless and stark, this is not a town for anyone to prosper in. The snow had ceased, and a flash of watery sunlight exposed the house on the slopeabove us in a plaintive ugliness. The black wraith of a deciduous creeper flapped form the porch, and the thin wooden walls, under their worncoats of paint, seemed to shiver in the wind that had risen with the ceasing snow (11) This depressing image painted in this quotation describes theenvironment , as well as Ethan. Just as Ethan s home was once new but has been torn apart by the many harsh winters in Starkfield, so to waspoor old Ethan. Ethan s home has suffered the loss of it "L": "the long deep-roofed adjunct usually built next to the main home, connecting it,through storerooms and tool-house" (11). Ethan removed this portion of his home in order to make his life easier or better yet as a type ofsymbolism. Consider, the "L" of ones home "presents of a link with the soil, and enclosing in itself the chief sources of warmth and nourishment"(11). One can compare the destruction of the "L" on his home to his actual life, as the narrator states " this connection of ideas, caused me to heara wistful note in Frome s words, and to see the diminished dwelling the image of his own shrunken body" (11). The devastation of winter candestroy both a man s will to live and the buildings which were build to protect him from that environment. As the narrator explains, " I had a sensethat his [Ethan] loneliness was not merely the result of his personal
plight, tragic as I guessed that to be, but had it in the profound accumulated coldof many winters" (7). One can interpret this as Ethan s life is tragic,

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