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The Concept of Human Suffering depicted by Edith Wharton in Ethan Frome
1 of the significant approaches in which Ethan Frome himself suffers is the truth that he constantly slaves more than his wife and mother. Ethan had an assumably regular childhood, even so, when he tries to escape Starkfield for excellent, he is brought back from college to care for his ailing mother who treats him badly. As stated by Harmon Gow, “Somebody had to keep and care for the people. There warn’t ever anyone but Ethan”(Wharton six). It is during this time he meets Zeena, who sooner or later becomes his wife. Soon after his mother dies, Zeena takes the identical spot of Ethan’s mother adding to his misery and suffering . Ethan can't control the events that occur to him. He is a victim of a horrible circumstance and is completely trapped by his morals of decency. The truth that Ethan is a decent man is the only thing that can be controlled by him, and by producing the moral choice to stick by his morals he is place in a position of agony. The reader can see his apprehension to leave Zeena because of his morals, and even following his near death experience Ethan says that he “ought to be obtaining him his feed” showing his compassion towards a basic horse and if we delve deeper his compassion to the awful Zeena. This continuous prolonging of Ethan’s horrible human situation and the abusive treatment from both his mother and Zeena lead Ethan to dream and hope of escape from Starkfield which leads to much more discomfort and suffering.
The suffering of Ethan Frome continues and even still is caused not by Ethan but by the temptress, albeit unintentional at that, Mattie Silver. Mattie is almost everything Ethan dreams of and lusts right after, even so he can't escape the horrible tyrant Zeena who keeps him under her thumb. Ethan dreams of escape, as any natural individual in his circumstance would, and sees Mattie as his true love and his possibility to escape. This is not the fault of Ethan due to the fact he has been supressed and tortured so long that all he has is hope and Mattie personifies hope herself. Ethan sees her as “taller, fuller and a lot more womanly in shape and in motion”(Wharton 71), and she is every little thing his life lacks. This causes massive suffering to Ethan since his hope and enjoy for Mattie develop, only to be horribly snatched away as the fruit from Tantalus. This creates a suffering so horrible and none of it is directly the result of Ethan.
An additional significant way that Ethan suffers as a victim of circumstance is in the abysmal final results of the excellent starkfield smash up. Ethan himself is physically crippled and maimed for life adding wonderful pain to his every day sufferings, and he no longer has the ability to walk unhindered by fantastic pain. In addition to that his dreams of escape are completely quashed and the woman who symbolizes his hope is so physically maimed that he virtually does not recognize her anymore. She is described post smash up as “bloodless and shriveled” and “under her shapeless dress her body kept its limp immobility, and her eyes had the vibrant witch-like stare that the illness of the spine often brings” (Wharton 151), a huge fall from her previous beauty. Now one may say, that Ethan had a option to go down that hill, even so, in honesty he does not. Ethan literally has not known happiness in a extended time and has only hope left. At this point he is fully unable, as would anybody in his position, to think rationally and wants to comply with hope to wherever it will lead him. It is in this way that he is totally a victim of circumstance in his sufferings.
Clearly, any reader of Ethan Frome can see and comprehend the massive sufferings that constantly burden Ethan Frome throughout Wharton’s novel. Ethan himself suffers physically, as his body is destroyed, and he suffers mentally as his hope is crushed. In addition his adore, Mattie Silver, maimed physically, and he ends up back at the abysmal beginning, living primarily as an ant beneath the boot of the dominating Zeena. Ethan also is a horrible victim of circumstance and none of these factors really are his fault, he has just been so destroyed after years of abuse he cannot fight back. It is in these ways that Ethan Frome suffers throughout the novel and to the highest degree he is a victim of circumstance. As Mrs. Hale said when referring to who suffers the most of the 3, “When I see that I think it is him that suffers the most”(Wharton 156). Nevertheless, 1 must ask, does Mattie suffer worse? She had the death of her parents and became physically maimed for life…..
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