Ethan From lies on his sofa bundled in an old coonskin coat. The room is small and barely illuminated by a dull lantern positioned on a table in the far corner of the room. It's so chilly that when Ethan breathes he sees his own breath. With a look of perplexity, he begins to think out loud. There is a large pile of crumpled up papers on the floor. The room is musty, and cobwebs have formed in the groove between the wall and the ceiling. There is a repetitive sound of a nervous tapping pencil. A tiny mouse crawls under Ethan's feet and into a dark hole in the wall. Ethan begins to pace back and forth, weighing his options. .
Ethan Frome is a young man destined to spend his entire life in Starkfield, Massachusetts. After both his parents died, he got married because he was afraid of being alone. Ethan was not meant to have an easy life, because next his wife, Zeena became deathly ill. In order to help Zeena, she invited her cousin Mattie to live with them and help with work around the house. After only living with them a short period of time, Ethan falls in love with her. In consequence to Mattie's inefficient housework and Doctor recommendation, Zeena decides to let Mattie go so she can hire a new, more effective hired girl. Since Mattie is leaving, Ethan is left with an important decision. He can either fulfill his dreams of moving out West, and leave with Mattie, or he could stay home and care for his wife and his farm. This decision is life altering because Ethan has the opportunity to carry out his lifelong dreams, but on the other hand must stay home and deal with his obligations. .
Ethan: (Crumples up another letter) Ahh! How can I possibly tell Zeena my true feeling? She"ll be so disappointed and angry with me. I never should have married her to begin with. Maybe this letter was a bad idea; maybe I should just stay in Starkfield until the day I die. I mean, my entire family lived and died here, I guess I should too.