Loveless Winters: A Book Review of Ethan Frome.
"Guess he's been in Starkfield too many winters. Most of the smart one's get away- (2). Winters are tragic for the people who live in Starkfield, Massachusetts. In Edith Wharton's novel Ethan Frome, winter is personified as an evil that traps citizens into the dark and gloomy wintry Starkfield. Life is non-existent in Starkfield when winter arrives. Life is particularly non-existent for the poor man named Ethan Frome whose life seems to be a long winter season.
Edith Wharton begins this tragic tale of heartbreak and loneliness by introducing a "bleak and unapproachable- (1) Frome. An inquisitive guest, a man who remains nameless throughout the novel, is captivated by the look of loneliness and regret that dwells in the eyes and demeanor of Ethan. The guest learns of Ethan's troublesome past through a flashback of events that take place in the dead of winter.
"Sickness and trouble: that's what Ethan's had his plate full up with, ever since the very first helping- (5). The guest learns of how Ethan's father becomes injured working on the farm. He consequently dies leaving Ethan and his sickly mother penniless. Meanwhile, a cousin of Ethan's named Zenobia (Zeena) comes to the farm to assist Ethan with taking care of his dying mother. Soon after the death of Ethan's .
mother, Ethan feels that he is obligated to Zeena, so he regrettably marries her. Zeena ultimately "fell silent- (30) and only talked to "complain of things not in his (Ethan) power to remedy- (30). They live together for several years in a relationship that is arctic, unfriendly, and quiet just like the winters that plague the town. .
Because she had taken care of Ethan's mother, Zeena becomes or thinks that she is ill within a year of being married to Ethan. Ethan and the town people believe that Zeena fabricates her sicknesses: "Zeena had always been what Starkfield called sickly' and Frome had to admit that if she were ailing as she believed, she needed the help of a stronger arm -(15) So to accommodate Zeena, a cousin by the name of Mattie Silver comes to assist Zeena with daily chores.