Prisoners of Ethan Frome Essay example

Submitted By hmoore94
Words: 501
Pages: 3

Prisoners of Ethan Frome Throughout the story of Ethan Frome we feel the great impression of constraint on Ethan, Mattie, and Zeena. A reader can distinguish several kinds of constraints. It is clear that Zeena is not affected by exactly the same problems as Ethan or Mattie. Nevertheless, one feels a constant lack of freedom between the characters. A lot of things, such as, the lack of money, health, the landscape, communication problems and marriage play a big role in this prison-like situation. One of the main constraints would be money and the lack there of. The Frome family is poor, so Ethan has to work hard to earn a living through his struggling farm. This problem concerns everyone, leaving the characters to be prisoners of the sparse money. If money was available to the Fromes, Zeena would have the possibility to be cured of her illness. The Frome family would be able to move out of Starkfield and settle down somewhere where the climate would not be so tough on anyone. Ethan wants to run away with Mattie, but this idea is quickly made impossible by the lack of money. Discussing the lack of money and Ethan wanting to run of with Mattie, Edith Wharton writes “The inexorable facts closed in on him like prison-warders hand-cuffing a convict. There was no way out--none. He was a prisoner for life, and now his one ray of light was to be extinguished.”(55) Where would Ethan get the money to run off with Mattie? What would Zeena do if Ethan left her? As for Mattie, her lack of money has put her in the situation she is currently in. Lev Raphael writes about Mattie’s finance situation in a very a way I found very easy to understand. “Mattie is proof of someone else’s beneficence, and her ‘liberation’ is a kind of imprisonment, since she has to ‘pay’ for her father’s success and his