Ethan Frome Literature Review Samples
The character Ethan is uniquely American in several respects. His interactions with people reveal some of his traits that are exhibited by Americans. The mannerisms and attitudes held by the character make him American in a unique way.
The character is proud and does not want to admit that he is in a precarious position. This trait is American. The character asks for fifty dollars from a character called Hale. However, he refuses to say that he needed the money urgently. The money belonged to him and he did not need to be afraid of asking for the money. He denies needing the money urgently even when asked by Hale. He believes that he does not have to tell anyone what he needs to do with the money. According to him, the most important thing was that he needed money. Explaining the urgency so as to be helped was not the right thing.
He could have received the money if he had been less proud. The casual nature with which he treated the issue made him loose the money. Mr. hale actually inquired from him whether he was serious with his request. The attitude of not appearing needy is an American spirit. The character retains his pride even though things are not going on well for him.
The value for quality of the character also reflects how unique he is American. Mr. Hale claims that Ethan valued nice and quality things. This is a trait of most Americans. He had made a place when he married Zenna. His value for quality is demonstrated by the type of house that he built for himself and the wife.
The performance of household chores is a common practice among American men. This is not so common in other places. Ethan does house hold chores such as cleaning the kitchen and washing garments. Her wife is not able to do them because she claims that her health cannot allow her work. Ethan continues to do housework and refuses to a hire a girl to assist in the household chores. In places like India, a man works for only 19 minutes a day performing household chores. This is not so in America.
Though the book was written a long time ago when gender inequality was high in America, then Ethan still performed household chores. The socialization of the American people is different. Since the wife is not able to perform household chores, the character finds nothing wrong with performing the chores. The other cultures the role of the man and the woman is clear cut. Gender roles are specific.
The character and views on marriage is American. He believes that a marriage should provide happiness and companionship. If these are not being met, then the right thing to do is to terminate the relationship. He does not want to stick in a marriage that offers nothing yet he offers a lot. He begins his association with Mattie due to the frustrations that he experiences in his marriage. The character gets excited when the wife leaves the house for visits. Ethan is bored with the life he lives.
He laments that he was never destined to stay in an unhappy marriage forever. The problems with his marriage make him resist the sending away of Mattie. It is this American nature that makes divorce and separation rates high. In a number of societies, people choose to stay in unsatisfactory marriages even if they do not get what they want in the marriage.
In America people do not shy away from quitting draining marriages. It is for this reason that the character contemplates escaping with Mattie and leaves his wife. The wife has made him live a life misery. This has affected his prosperity. According to him, they may be better off separated. The fact that he contemplates such thoughts including leaving the family house in order to find happiness marks the American spirit.
The character wants to have a better marriage life and children which his wife Zenna is not able to offer. The character refuses to dampen his hopes due to his marriage to Zenna. He regrets his missed chances at getting a good life rather than struggling marriage in which he was the victim. The wife had grown bitter by the day and it was time for him to leave in search of a better life with another person.
The character is determined to leave at whatever cost. Nothing holds him back. Not even the mill and the farm could hold him back yet he had spent most of his time working in the farm and on the mill. This is evidence when he begins to write a letter to Zenna explaining his reasons for departure. His main aim is to find happiness. Though he stops writing midway when he notices that he does not have the fair to take him to the west, it shows the real character of Americans. It shows how Americans are socialized to view marriages.
He insists on realizing his ambitions and he takes a drastic step to escape with Mattie so as to leave the ever quarrelsome wife. However, he respects the sanctity of marriage. This is what creates internal conflict. He knows that he should leave, but wonders how he would achieve it. He divided between escaping with Mattie and staying in his marriage. His decision came in as a last resort. He was however determined to keep the marriage.
Ethan Frome is regarded by others who do not know as indifferent and anti-social. However, as they begin to know him they find him as good company and a person who values helping other people. The character appears distant but this is only a mask for other people who do not know him. His mood is due to the problems that he has undergone in his life. He has an ailing wife among other problems. It is these problems that make him silent. However, once a person gets to him, he becomes friendly. This explains why he offers to carry people in his truck as drives from the post office to his farm. He even offers to help others even though he has not been requested to help. This character emanates from the socialization of American people.
Americans may look distant but when a person gets to know them, they realize that the person is friendly and capable of helping. The character, therefore, satisfies the true American socialization. The help that he offers to Mattie gives insights into his character. He is ready to help her at whatever cost.
Strangers may find Americans socially inaccessible but interaction with them provides an opportunity to understand Americans. They get sociable with familiarization. Other characters find Ethan Frome inaccessible and this makes them shun him, but they soon come to realize that Ethan is a good person. From a distance the character looked less sociable yet it was his predicaments that made him appear mean.
Determination and self-belief portrayed by the character Ethan exemplifies a typical American. The actor shows determination in the things the does. He goes to the post office everyday and back to his farm. He maintains his daily attendance to his farm and the mill. It is easy to predict his time table for the day. He works in the house because the wife is sick and also tends to their firm. The productive spirit is the socialization and culture of the American people. The work that the person engages in shows that he is determined. He feels that his wife may not be able to manage farm work when he is finally gone. He trusts in his abilities. This is why he is bothered about what will eventually become of the farm when finally disappears with Mattie.
He demonstrates the character for determination when he finally decides to leave with Mattie. He offers to do anything to ensure that he leaves him home and go west to try his luck. He is ready to go to the extent of borrowing money in order to realize his dreams. Nothing restrains him from his ambition to of living a more fulfilling life. The confidence that he displays shows the true American spirit. He does not rescind his decision to leave his matrimonial home in pursuit of happiness.
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