October 19, 2014
The Definition of an American, the Samaritan Ethan Frome
When defining an American one thinks of someone that is pursuing their dream by any means necessary. It takes hard work, dedication, desire, and in trying times some risk-taking. The biggest part of being an American is being there for others and helping them for the better good of humanity.
From the beginning of the story you see that Ethan does not have very much and what he has he has worked very hard for. The countless hours he spends working odd jobs just to maintain barely making by is noticed by all of the townsfolk. Everyone in town knew of Ethan and how deeply he cared for others, as if he did not have a choice but to stay and take care of them all. "Somebody had to stay and care for the folks. There warn't ever anybody but Ethan. Fust his father—then his mother—then his wife" (Wharton, 3). With most things in life when it came for Ethan to be cared for there was no one to be found. "Oh, as to that: I guess it's always Ethan done the caring" (Wharton, 3).
Just like any small American town Starkfield enjoys its dances and festivities. The town worked hard so there had to be times when a person had to let their hair down. Ethan is not much for the dancing and letting loose but he is an alchemist of temptation. Watching through the church windows the lust first starts to grow within Ethan. Ethan stares at his wife’s cousin, Mattie, just like her last name defines her as Silver. Ethan spends the next day working, hauling wood to sell. He also has a chance to spend some quality time with his wife but with the day dreams of Mattie he chooses to allow his driver take his wife to town. Ethan attempts to continue his labor throughout the day but he cannot stop dreaming of Mattie. As the story moves on Ethan desire grows more and the cold exterior explodes from within creating an imaginary wall between him and Zeena. In America this happens every day when marriages hit a rut as people change but that common ground must be found at the first derailment.
The end of chapter three is a rollercoaster of emotions that the majority of Americans face every day. The challenge of making the right decisions for the better good and what is best for all involved. Ethan does not have too much working going on at this time but when his wife first suggests that she is leaving town for the new doctor he basically kicks her out the door with excitement. Ethan shows no pause for care, or offer to go with her due to her ailment.
Ethan makes good on his lie to his wife the next day by doing the righteous thing and ask Mr. Hale for the money he owes him, in Mr. Hale’s eyes would be an advance as he does not pay him until after the third month. Not only is Ethan shut down, but is told it may even be longer until he gets his money due to Mr. Hale fixing up his family a house when they are married. Once again we are left to see the valor of Ethan as in order for someone else to do a good deed he must also refrain from his collection of money and basically work for free by bringing wood to Mr. Hale.
After a night of supper and feline mischief, Ethan begins his day as he has previously envisioned it with Mattie at his side by the stove. Once both were uncomfortable with their almost devious actions, the “deep quiet sank on the room” (Wharton, 28). Small talk turns to town gossip followed by the day’s events from Ethan’s eyes. Ruth and Ned had been seen kissing and when Ethan brings this up to Mattie a sense of embarrassment arises in her. Ethan’s thoughts of his wrong doing get the best of him when he attempts to slowly touch Mattie’s hand but is startled by the cat and the looming future rocking of soon to be filled rocking chair.
At breakfast Ethan was almost at peace with his life and happiness filled him from within that was begging to thrust out. The rest of Ethan’s day was nothing but signs poking him in the eye that he was