Ethan Frome Failure

Failure in Ethan Frome

The main theme of the book Ethan Frome is failure. It is shown in three ways
throughout the story: Ethan\'s marriage, him not being able to stand up to Zeena,
and his involvement in the "smash up".

Ethan marries Zeena so he won\'t be alone after his mother dies. She seemed
like a very cheerful, vivacious person while his mother was sick. After their
marriage all this changed. She became a very nagging, sick wife. Because of
Zeena\'s "complications" they had to hire someone to help around the
house. Mattie, Zeena\'s cousin, needed a place to live and seemed fit for the
job. She moved in and Ethan took and immediate liking to her. He found someone
that cared for him, was always happy, and could share his youth. All of which,
Zeena was incapable of doing. Ethan longed to be with Mattie, but he was loyal
to Zeena. Being married to Zeena was Ethan\'s first failure.

Ethan\'s second failure was not standing up to Zeena. She claimed the doctor
said that she was extremely sick and needed more help around the house. She told
him without any discussion that Mattie had to go. Ethan could not find the words
to make her alter her decision. Zeena also decided that Mattie had to leave the
next day. It was stated in the book that Zeena had the upper hand in the house
by the line "Now she [Zeena] had mastered him [Ethan] and he obeyed
her." Ethan could not find the right things to say, and it was because of
his failure of not being able to stand up to his wife that he was going to lose
the only thing that made him happy.

Ethan\'s last failure was the way he modified his and Mattie\'s lives regarding
the "smash up". He wanted to run away with Mattie, but he could not
because his practical sense told him it was not feasible to do so. Mattie wanted
so desperately to be with Ethan that she suggested in order to stay together
forever, to die together. It was Ethan\'s job to steer into the tree with the
sled so that it looked like an accidental death. He did not hit the tree right
and it did not kill either of them. Instead it injured them, and these injuries
stayed with them forever. In this way, Ethan had his last failure in not
exceeding to die with his love. Now he had to live with the guilt from his wife,
the injured Mattie, and broken dreams. Everything Ethan tried to do worked
against his favor. With all the incidents that happened it seemed inevitable
that his life would always be a string of failure.

Category: English