November 18, 2007

Review: Ethan Frome

Ethan Frome
by Edith Wharton
99 pages
First sentence:
I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story.

Ethan Frome is the old looking, disfigured owner of a dilapidated farm in Starkfield, Mass. Just the name of the town tells you about his life. While his neighbors all have problems, Ethan is known to have had abundantly more than his fair share in life. As we explore the events leading up to the defining moment in his life there is no turning back until it is all over with. Prepare for the full gamut of emotions.

The first emotion I experienced was curiosity, about what made Ethan Frome into such a shell of a man. Then there was anger at him because he is pursuing a young lady while his wife is home sick. There is disgust at the wife for being such a manipulative shrew. But soon Ethan redeems himself and sees the reality of his situation. After that is sorrow for the hard place he is in. And finally comes the stunned silence. I thought I knew what was coming but Wharton threw in a curve ball; a couple of them actually. When I finally put the book down I wanted to cry on my husband's shoulder, but I overcame that impulse. =)


I absolutely loved this book. This is my third completed selection for the Reading the Author Challenge. I am so glad I read it. It may be my new favorite Wharton. But then again, I still have The Buccaneers to look forward to.

38 comments:

Cath said...

I'm just reading The House of Mirth, almost finished as a matter of fact. It's my first full length novel by Edith Wharton and I've loved it so much. I'll certainly be reading more by her next year but am not sure where to go next. Have you any favourites?

Petunia said...

House of Mirth was my first Wharton and the reason I am such a fan. But I have to say that Ethan Frome is my new favorite Wharton. I also loved Madame de Treymes. I will soon be reading Buccaneers and Summer so visit often.

Cath said...

I'll keep an eye for your reviews of Buccaneers and Summer. I finished The House of Mirth yesterday and absolutely loved it (my review is on my blog). Such a tragic story, beautifully told. I must read more of her work and will buy anything I see.

Carrie K said...

House of Mirth was my first Wharton too and I loved it. Ethan Frome was better than I was expecting, but it didn't replace HoM for me.

I've got The Buccaneers on my TBR shelves too! Got to get to it. What's with those TBR shelves?

Petunia said...

Oh Goody! A new Wharton fan!

Carrie-be sure to let me know what you think of Buccaneers when you read it.

Sarah said...

I just had my high school students read this for American Lit class, and they loved it. I was so happy! It's been a favorite of mine since high school.
Visiting from Semicolon's Saturday Review--
SmallWorld

Trish said...

I started this one a few years ago--not sure why I put it down (which is rare); I may have started grad school around the same time. I remember thinking it was "easier" than Age of Innocence--and your review makes me interested in picking it back up. 2008 is a new year...maybe then. :)

Petunia said...

Sarah-I never had to read much for literature so I am really enjoying reading these classics now.

Trish-if you can read it in one sitting it will make the biggest impact. And it's only 100 pages so it's not a huge commitment.

verbivore said...

I have this on my shelf and am really looking forward to reading it sometime after the holidays. I can't wait to hear what you'll have to say about The Buccaneers - I read that one earlier this fall and really enjoyed it.

Mrs. Rounds said...

My High School Honors LA I & II has just completed reading Ethan Frome and have mixed feelings about the book. They will be posting their good thoughts and ideas. I am also glad I found your blog to learn more about the Read the Author challenge.

cano.miriam said...

Miriam cano
This story was very wonderful but it was a disappointment. Ethan and Mattie were very in secrets with there love and zeena seemed to find out. Zeena made mattie go and Ethan decided that he will take mattie to the train then from there Mattie and Ethan got in to a smash up. thats why Mattie is paralyzed and Ethan is still stuck between zeena and ethan.

cano.miriam said...

Miriam cano
This story was very wonderful but it was a disappointment. Ethan and Mattie were very in secrets with there love and zeena seemed to find out. Zeena made mattie go and Ethan decided that he will take mattie to the train then from there Mattie and Ethan got in to a smash up. thats why Mattie is paralyzed and Ethan is still stuck between zeena and ethan.

Sandra said...

Ethan Frome
I thought the book was not realy a good book i have read better book but it was a allright book i would not care or bother to read it agian. the most tragic charter i thought was mattie becuase she loved Ethan but hide it and her cusion zeena was mean to her. i think the saetting play a big role in tihis book becuase if it had the spring ethna might havenot married zeena and might have never meet mattie.

lobato.taylor said...

I just finished reading Ethan Frome in my Honors Lit class. I liked it a lot, but it's not one of those books that I was necessarily 'fun' to read,(it was way too depressing to be 'fun'.) It made me think and quess what was going to happen and my heart ached for all of the charactors. I have the most sympathy for Zeena becasue yes, she was horrible but I don't think she knew any better. She thought that the life she was in was all the world had to offer and she was losing Ethan to someone more deserving. Living in the middle of nowhere didn't help anyone because they only saw the same faces over and over again and they they all felt trapped. I think that's a big reason why Zeena and Ethan got married becasue they were affraid noone else would come along. The whole situation is just tragic.

palma.guillermo said...

first of all i liked the book Ethan Frome. It was a very interesting story but it disapointed me because i never thought that Mattie and Ethan wanted to commit suicide and leave Mattie Paralyzed. I also thinked that Zeena was a tragic charecter because she made everything into a big deal espacially when she wanted Mattie to leave. That is a part of the book that really got me mad and also made me think that Zeena is a little witch and that Ethan shouldn't ever married her. The Setting in the novel doesnt really play a big part in the story except for the scene when Ethan and Mattie crashed into the tree thats the only part i thought that played a role in the book.

Bri said...

I thought this book is very tragic because Ethan almost kills himself so he could be with Mattie. Also because he has to spend the rest of his life old and crippled with both of the women in the house and Zeena being madat him for trying to be leave with Mattie.

guadiana.noella said...

I thought this book was interesting but it didn't seem like one of the books i would nessesarly pick to read. I thought the most tragic charcter was Zeena because of the way she was being treated by both her husband and her cousin. She may have been mean and bitter but it seemed like she was forced to be that way. The setting played a role in the novel because Starkfeild was a boring and desolate town. The situations that happend between Ethan and the two women were tradgic and complicated.

sunflower said...

Ethan Frome was a very sad and boring book. It didn't interest me at all because I thought it was pointless. The most tragic character was Ethan, he was a man who got married with someone he didn't love, but then fell in love with another woman. Then later him and the other woman tried commiting suicide so they can be together forever. The setting played a great role in the novel because the town was secluded and it didn't seem like a very happy town.

deherrera.stephanie said...

i have just got done reading the book Ethan Frome. I thought that is was an alright book, but i have read better books before. i think that the most tragic character would have to be Mattie because she had come to have strong feelings for Ethan at the end. i think that the setting played a role in the novel because Starkfield was a very boring town.

villagomez.monique said...

I hought this book was kind of interesting but then again it didn't really seem like a type of book that I would pick to read. I thought another tragic charcter was Zeena because of how her cousin and her husband kind of treated her. It seems like she was kind of mean and grumpy because of the way she was treated. The setting played a role becasue Starkfeild was kind of a plain and boring and place. The things that happend with Ethan, Zeena, and Mattie, were very complicated and trajic.

Naomi said...

I read the book Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. Before I read it I didn’t think I would like it because it really wasn’t the type of book I would have pick up. But I really didn’t have a choice because it was the book that my class had picked to read. After I read this book it wasn’t bad at all. Actually it was a good story. A bit detailed but with all the details it helps carve a picture in my head while I read it. I think that the most tragic character would have to be Ethan because he is stuck in love between his wife Zeena and his wife’s cousin Mattie. This book takes place in Starkfield

Portillo.Pedro said...

I have just finished reading Ethan Frome in my honors llanguege arts class and i thought that it was a good book. And there was one Charactor that made me think the most about and that was Ethan but not until the end because of what he had to go thruogh after the smash up of taking care of both of the women. and the setting to a big roll because if it wasnt for the oak tree the smash up wouldnt have happend and if the setting was somewere warmer ethan would have maried zeena because of the lonley cold winters.

deysi said...

When i read the book Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton I tought it was pretty interesting book. As for me i thought Ethan was the most tragic character. I felt sorry for Ethan because he was with Zeena but he didn't like her, Ethan liked Mattie. That's the biggest conflict...that Ethan and Mattie liked each other but yet they couldn't be together. I liked this story the most because of the conflicts and tragedy. The setting was in Starkfield.

Bri Bri..T said...

I just finished reading the book Ethan Frome, and found it to be very interesting a man stuck between two women, and the thought that one of the women was his wife's cousin, that had me really shocked that he would decieve his wife. By the end of the book, I found that the most tragic character in my opinion would have to of been Ethan, because he had to make some pretty tough decision weather to do the right thing or the wrong thing. Also the setting of the story plays a good roll in the story, because this story is tragic and sad, so it being winter, which is cold and gray, so you just get into the mood of the story and feel how the characters are feeling. So therefore I enjoyed the book, and thought I was quite outstanding.

archuleta.angel said...

I've just finished the book Ethan Frome. It was fairly good but not the typical kind of book i would often pickup. To me it was the kind of book where you could read the 1st, middle, and last chapter and know what happened. I thought that Mattie was the most tragic character, her thought of suicide was crazy, but Ethan was also caught up in a moment. I thought of Starkfield as a small town like i live in where everyone knows what happens & it isn't always great.

torrez.brianna said...

DEYSI - I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU, I THOUGHT THE BOOK WAS INTERESTING AND I ALSO THOUGHT THAT ETHAN WAS THE MOST TRAGIC CHARACTER, FOR THE SAME REASONS.

DJ said...

When I read the book Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, I thought it was a really good book. I would definately consider reading this book again. I thought Ethan was one of the most tragic characters because his dad passed away and he was stuck between to girls who were cousins, his wife Zeena and his wife's cousin Mattie. Zeena wasn't a very good wife to Ethan. But Mattie would treat him very good. I also think Zeena was one of the most tragic characters because her husband is falling in love with her cousin. Zeena let Mattie come into their home and Ethan just falls in love with her. I thought that was kind of sad for Zeena although she was a terrible wife. Starkfield was really gloomy and depressing like. It plays a role in the story by being so depressing and sad.

archuleta.angel said...

DJ: i somewhat agree to what you have said but i didn't think it was a REALLY GOOD book and i'm not sure if i would pick it up again

burch said...

As I finished the book Ethan Frome by Edith Warton, I had mixed feelings on whether or not I really liked it. I liked the way that she wrote the story, but the storyline, which suggests adultery, I did not like. I honestly felt most sorry for Zeena because thoughout her marriage to Ethan, it seems like he never once showed her compassion. Starkfeild itself plays a big role in the mood of the story, because its location and time period are both located geologicaly and historicaly in hard places.

DJ said...

BRI--I agree with you because Ethan wants to kill himself so him and Mattie can be together. But Zeena ends up taking care of Mattie and Ethan because of the "smash up"

Portillo.Pedro said...

Monique: i agree with what you are saying it was interesting but it wouldn't realy be one of the kind of books i would pick.

its ashley said...

BRI. i so agree. I didnt think that he would do that to his wife. like omg. and he did have to make alot of hard decisions to make in the whole book. Things never did work out for him.

monica said...

NAOMI: I also think that the most tragic characer was Ethan because he ended up with two women in the end.

palma.guillermo said...

deysi i agree with you that it was an interesting book but i dnt know about Ethan Being the most tragic cherecter i tought that it was Zeena

nick said...

I didn't like this book very much do to the uninteresting plot of the story

deherrera.stephanie said...

deysi i would have to agree with you on the part that you said that you felt sorry for ethan i felt sorry for him to :(

deherrera.stephanie said...

bri torrez i would have to agree with you i thought that this book was a tragic and sad story too.

taylor said...

Angel- I agree with you because there was a lot of nothing in between and very few parts where anything happened.