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