Ethan Frome


1)"Guess he's been in Starkfield to many winters. Most of the smart ones get away."
~Harmon Gow (pg.4)
    This line is said by Harmon Gow, an rough tobacco chewing native of Starkfield. He is describing the main charachter Ethan Frome to the narrarator, who has just seen him for the first time. The narrarator's first impression of Ethan Frome is that he is a weathered, rough, grizzly looking man. I believe that this quote is important the story because it gives the reader a description of Ethan's outside appearance while also hinting at the prospect of Starkfield being a dull animation-less town. This quote also leads the reader to wonder why Ethan is still living in Starkfield, if "most of the smart ones get away". This makes the reader want to read more of the story.

2)"All his life was lived in the sight and sound of Mattie Silver, and he could no longer conceive of it's being otherwise."
~Ethan Frome's inner monologue (pg. 20)
    This line is taken from (a younger) Ethan Frome's inner monologue. Ethan's wife Zeena is sickly and requested that her cousin Mattie come live with them and help out around the house. Ethan soon falls in love with Mattie, though he tries to fool himself into believing otherwise. I think that this line is important to explaining the story because it is let's the reader know of the complexity of Ethan's situation. In this line Ethan finally admits to himself that he is love with Mattie.

3)"The Frome grave-stones slanted at crazy angles through the snow. Ethan looked at them curiously. For years that quiet company had mocked his restlessness, his desire for change and freedom. 'We never got away-how should you?' seemed to be written on every headston; and whenever he went in or out of his gate he thought with a shiver 'I shall just go on living here till I join them.' But now all desire for change had vanished, and the sight of the little enclosure gave him a warm sense of continuance and stability."
~Ethan Frome's inner monologue (pg. 26)
    When Ethan and Mattie are walking home form the church, they walk through the gate and head up to the Frome's house, on their way they pass the Frome's private enclosed graveyard. I think this quote is important for the reader in understanding Ethan Frome's charachter. Ethan's life goal was to get out of Starkfield, he even went off to college to try and study engineering, but his father died and his mother grew sick, so it was up to Ethan to come home and take care of everyone. Then when his wife became more and more sickly, it became out of the question for Ethan to ever get away for Starkfield. And the fact that he was stuck there used to make him depressed, but now that Mattie is living with them he is content to spend the rest of his days in Starkfield, as long as she is with him.

4)"Then she too fell silent. Perhaps it was the inevitable effect of life on the farm, or perhaps as, as she sometimes said, it was because Ethan 'never listened'. The charge was not wholly unfounded. When she spoke it was only to complain, and to complain of things not in his power to remedy".
~Ethan Frome's inner monologue (pg. 36)
    In this passage Ethan Frome describes his wife Zeena. Zenobia Pierce was lively and talkative when she first met Ethan. She moved in with him to help take care of his dying mother. Zeena helped to brighten up Ethan's life during the winter his mother passed away. They got married and made wonderful plans together to sell the farm and move to an urban town, where Ethan could a job in engineering. But they had trouble selling the farm, and after their first year of marriage Zeena began to become sickly. In my personal opinoion I believe Zeena became ill from being couped up on a small farm. Ethan and Zeena grew apart, and Ethan started to suspect that Zeena would die the same way his mother did; just kind of burn out.

5)"When the door of her room had closed on her he remembered that he had not even touched her hand."
~Ethan Frome's inner monologue (pg. 48)
    This quote is after Ethan and Mattie have their quiet Zeena-less evening together. There was alot of awkward tension between the both of them at first, but as they relaxed the evening progressed pleasantly. I thought this quote was important to the story because this evening was so special to Ethan because he is in love with Mattie, and he had such an amazing time that he had even forgotten he hadn't touched her hand at all. He can still love her and not have a physical relationship. And I think this quote also lets the reader know what kind of charachters that Ethan and Mattie are. Even though Zeena is gone, they don't take advantage of it in the way some people would expect them to. Mattie and Ethan wish to remain loyal to Zeena, and not give into their own wishes.

6)"She had taken everything else from him; and now she meant to take the one thing that made up for all the others. For a moment such a flame of hate rose in him that it ran down his arm and he clenched his fist against her."
~Ethan Frome's inner monologue (pg. 58)
    This inner monologue is taken from when Ethan and Zeena have their first ever all out fight, Zeena returns from the doctors and tells Ethan she has hired a new handy-girl to help out around the house and that Mattie will have to leave tomorrow, so accomidations can be set up for the new girl. Ethan is furious, and in this quote the reader can see years of built up anger, frustration, and resentment suddenly pour out. Ethan is angry because Zeena is a burden and all she does is complain, but he was able to endure her as long as Mattie was with them; now that Zeena wants to send Mattie away, Ethan can't contain his anger, and he promises Mattie that he won't let her go.

7)"For the first time, in the light the words he had just heard, he saw what he was about to do. He was planning to take advantage of the Hales' sympathy to obtain money from them on false pretences. That was a plain statement of the cloudy purpose which had driven him in headlong to Starkfield."
~Ethan Frome's inner monologue (pg. 70)
    When Zeena plans to send Mattie away the next day Ethan becomes desperate. He spends a restless night forming a plan to leave Zeena and run off with Mattie. He decides that he could leave Zeena the farm, which she could sell for money, and Mattie and he could head west together. But when reality catches up with him, he realizes that he doesn't have the money to go west and support Mattie, and he know's deep down that if he left Zeena on her own to try and sell the farm she could go into bankruptcy or die. But the next morning he decides to give it a try. He plans to go into Stakfield and ask a client and friend of his, Mr. Hale, for his payment of 50 dollars early, claiming that Zeena needs the money for a new hired hand. But when he runs into Mrs. Hale, she sympathizes with him, and tells him that he's had a rough life. These words stop him in his tracks, and he can't go through with asking his friend for money under false pretences.

8)"and one by one all the days between rose up and stood before him..."
~Ethan Frome's inner monologue (pg. 73)
    Ethan is remembering the first day he met Mattie, when he went to pick her up the train station. Now it was their last day together, and Ethan has offered to drive her over to the same train station, so she can catch the six o'clock train for Stamford. I like the poetic way this quote is written. I think it helps to express the deep love that Ethan has for Mattie, he can remember everyday they ever spent together.

9)"That was all; but all their intercourse had been made up of just such inarticulateflashes, when they seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if they had surprised a butterfly in th ewinter woods..."
~Ethan Frome's inner monologue (pgs. 75-76)
    I like this quote because, again, it descrides Ethan Mattie's love; which is unusual for most love affairs. Ethan and Mattie love each other from afar, and their happiest moments together are very simple. For example in the paragraph preceeding this quote Ethan rmembers a time they went on a church picnic together, and Mattie lost her neckalace, and Ethan found it. These are some of his favorite memories with her and they are very humble.

10)"And I say, if she'd ha' died, Ethan might ha' lived; and they way they are now, I don't see's there's much difference between the Fromes up at the farm and the Fromes down in the graveyard; 'cept that down there they're all quiet, and the women have got to hold their tongues."
~Mrs. Hale (pg. 88)
    This is the very last paragraph of the story. It really sums up the tale of Ethan Frome. After their sledding "accident" Mattie and Ethan have never been the sam. Mattie grew sour and whiney, and it hurt Ethan to look at her and see the damage he did. Zeena stepped up to the plate and has been caring for Mattie and Ethan ever since the accident. In this quote the narrarator is talking with Mrs. Hale, and neighbor and friend of the Frome's. Mrs. Hale says that it would be better if Mattie had died that evening, because Ethan can't really live because of the guilt he feels.