Ethan Frome


Ethan Frome is a novel about the struggle of a man, Ethan Frome, who is caught in a love triangle. He is married to Zeena, whom he has never really loved. He married her because she helped him take care of his mother when she was sick. Soon after, Zeena became "sickly." She was constantly sick or believed she was suffering from some illness. She drained Ethan?s pockets of a good sum of money on medicines and doctors visits. Because Zeena was sick and could not do much work around the house, they brought Mattie, Zeena?s relative who had been orphaned, to Starkfield to help around the house in return for food and shelter. Ethan soon fell in love with Mattie but could not express it because of Zeena.
Throughout the year that Mattie was with them, Ethan tried to show her that he loved her. He would walk her home after a church gathering in the winter and put his arms around her. He tried to show off to her by boasting his skill at sledding, and how he could coast down the dangerous hill and miss the big elm tree that was in the path right around a sharp bend. Mattie fell in love with Ethan too, after a picnic on a summer afternoon.
One day, Zeena left Starkfield to see a new doctor in Bettsbridge. Her trip would keep her over night so Ethan and Mattie had the night alone together. Zeena asked Ethan to take her down to the Flats to catch the train, but Ethan said that Jotham Powel would have to do it because he had to drive a bunch of lumber over to Mr. Hale?s and collect the cash for it. But he knew he was not going to be paid for the lumber then, he only said that to avoid taking his wife to the station, and he soon regretted it.
When Ethan drove the lumber over to Mr. Hale?s he asked for an advance on the money because he knew that Zeena would be tempted to buy a lot of fancy medicines because she was expecting him to have fifty dollars by the time she returned. He was turned down by the kind hearted man because he too was having financial trouble.
When he returned home, Mattie had cooked dinner and it was on the table. While they were eating the cat jumped up onto the table after the milk. Both Ethan and Mattie reached for the milk to get it away from the cat. Their hands met on the handle of the pitcher. In the odd moment, the cat knocked over one of Zeena?s favorite pickle dishes. Immediately, they both picked up the shattered pieces. Ethan said he?d go to the store tomorrow and get some glue to fix it with and repair it before Zeena returned.
The next day, Ethan bought the glue and returned home to fix the broken wedding gift, but Zeena had already returned by the time he arrived. So he said he?d fix it late tonight when Zeena was asleep. Ethan then goes up to see how Zeena is and to find out what the doctor said. Zeena tells him that the doctor said that she needs a hired girl to do all the work around the house for her if she is to get well. Ethan says that he cannot afford a hired girl and that they already have Mattie. Zeena then says that Mattie will have to leave the next day because she already found a girl. They argue for a while until Mattie comes up and says dinner is ready. Ethan goes down, infuriated, and leaves Zeena who says she?s not hungry.
At dinner Ethan tells Mattie about what Zeena says, and tells her that he won?t let her leave. Zeena then comes down and decides to eat something. After dinner Zeena goes to get some stomach powder in the china closet where the broken dish is pieced together. She finds the dish and yells at Ethan and Mattie. They all go to sleep, but Ethan, who stays up trying to think of a way to stay with Mattie, but he can?t think of a plan that is realistic.
The next day Ethan has to drive Mattie to the Flats to catch her train. As they?re riding