Symbolism In Ethan Frome

This essay has a total of 476 words and 3 pages.

Symbolism In Ethan Frome


Ethan Frome, the classic novel written by Edith Wharton contains a great amount of
symbolism. The symbolism allows the characters to express themselves more clearly to the
reader. It brings incidents and personalities together in meaning. The story's symbolic
events is what pulls characters together in time of need.

Starkfield Massachusetts is a boring cold farm town. People become very ill there from the
terribly harsh winters. Winter greatly affects the actions and behaviors of the
characters. No quote better describes the harsh winters of Starkfield, and the effect that
it had on the townspeople, than the following:

'When I had been there a little longer, and had seen this phase of crystal clearness
followed buy long stretches of sunless cold; when the storms of February had pitched their
white tents about the devoted village and the wild cavalry of March winds had charged down
o their support; I began to understand why Starkfield emerged from its six months' siege
like a starved garrison capitulating without quarter.'; (7)

Another truly symbolic point of the story is the Elm tree. The Elm tree symbolizes the end
and the escape of two lives. Even though Mattie an Ethan were not killed by the sled
crash, that was their purpose. The Elm tree also symbolizes strength and courage. After
the crash, the Elm tree was still standing, while Ethan and Mattie were terribly injured.
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