ethan frome essay

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Cheyenne Pierre
Mrs. Rossi
Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014 Title In the novella “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton, Mattie Silver and Zeena Frome show

their different personality traits that are easily compared by the readers of the novella. Even

though they seem very different, Zeena and Mattie have many things in common. Zeena and Mattie are also very opposite people based on looks and personality. Near the end

of the novella Mattie transforms into a completely different person and she seems to be acting

just like Zeena. Zeena and Mattie are very

similar and different and it is easy to compare them both because Zeena is old and mean, while

Mattie is young and joyful. However, Zeena use to be just like Mattie and Mattie ends up being

just like the old Zeena.

Mattie and Zeena have similar traits about themselves. In chapter seven Zeena comes

home and figures out that Mattie broke Zeena’s pickle dish and she says to Mattie: “and I tried to

keep my things where you couldn’t get at em’- and now you’ve took from me the one I cared for

the most of all-” (101). In this quote, it seems as if Zeena is using “pickle dish” as a metaphor for

Ethan, saying that Mattie took the one thing/person that Zeena cared for the most (Ethan). This

shows us that Zeena and Mattie both truly loved Ethan and Zeena kicked Mattie out of the house

out of jealousy and love. Mattie and Zeena both wanted to be taken care of. There were no jobs

available for Mattie, so she ended up taken care of Zeena, much like Zeena did for Ethan’s mom,

which shows that Mattie and Zeena are both caring women willing to help others in need. Mattie

thinks that Ethan will protect and take care of her, much like how Zeena thought that Ethan

would also take care of her and pay for her expenses. Both Zeena and Mattie just want to feel

loved by someone (Ethan) and feel like they will always be protected by him, they both depend

on others to look after them and that is a personality trait that they both have in common.

Although Mattie and Zeena may have many similarities, they also have many differences

between them, some obvious and some not as obvious.

Zeena and Mattie are very opposite women. In chapter two we get a description of

Zeena’s physical appearance: “Against the dark background of the kitchen she stood up tall and

angular, one hand drawing a quilted counterpane to her flat breast, while the other help a lamp.”

(37). This description of Zeena make her sound old, unattractive and un-feminine looking.

However, we know from Ethan’s description of Mattie that she is very young and beautiful and

that many men are interested in her. Ethan becomes more attracted to Mattie because she is

happy and loving unlike Zeena. Zeena is a depressed, old woman who constantly needs Ethan to

help her because she is always “sick”. It is easy to see why Ethan and the readers prefer Mattie

over Zeena. Zeena and Mattie are both different because Zeena is old and very thin, while Mattie

is beautiful