Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ethan Frome Chapters III - V

Respond to the questions below in complete sentences in order to receive credit.  You can also receive credit by responding or adding to your classmates' responses.  Include quotes from and/or specific references to the text in your responses.

1.  What was Zeena like when Ethan first met her? Why did Ethan ask her to stay? What difference might it have made if his mother had died in spring?
2.  In what way did Zeena change after marriage? What effect did Zeena’s behavior have on Ethan’s future plans?
3.  What does Ethan want from Mr. Hale and why? What effect does Mr. Hale’s statement that he is fixing up a house for Ned and Ruth have on Ethan? Why?
4.  What two sights does Ethan notice on his way home, and what is his response to each?
5.  How does Mattie set the dinner table? What gets broken, and what might it symbolize?
6.  What color ribbon does Mattie wear in her hair and what does it symbolize?
7.  What are some reminders of Zeena that are present throughout Ethan and Mattie’s evening together?  What effect do these things have on the mood?
8.  Is Ethan Frome to blame for his plight—that of being trapped in a loveless marriage and having to give up his aspiration to study engineering, or is he a victim of circumstance, bound by family tradition? Does Mattie Silver represent his last chance to attain happiness, or does his liaison with her represent another instance of poor judgment on his part?


33 comments:

  1. 8. Ethan is definitely not to blame for his plight. He is a victim of circumstance, and the terrible tradition has left him basically alone and without love. When Mattie enters his life a light is turned on in his heart, he feels things he never could from Zeena. He feels needed, wanted and above all loved. She is certainly his last chance of happiness. Ethan is not to blame for the ordeal he is in, none is, it is merely a wrong place wrong time thing. When his father died he had to give up college, when his mother died he had to settle with Zeena, when Zeena got sick he lost his freedom and was robbed of love before he had a chance to feel it.

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  2. 5. Mattie sets the dinner table very nicely, with a red dish that was a wedding present to Etan and Zeena. Later on in the night, the plate breakes. This plate is very important to Zeena, "It came all the way from Philadelphia, from Zeena's aunt that married the minister. That's why she wouldn't use it" (35). This plate, due to its origins has a great meaning to Zeena, and can also symbolize Ethan's relationships. When the plate breaks, it symbolizes the ruining of his and Mattie's time together. "It seemed to him as if the shattered fragments of thier evening lay there" (35). Long term however, it could symbolize Ethan and Mattie's relationship being destroyed in a horrible unfortunate accident.

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  3. Zeena understood his situation. Ethan felt if Zeena hadn’t come along he would have “gone like his mother”. (29) She understood how he felt immediately. In addition, she was helpful because she knew Ethan didn’t know as much about medical care as she did. She took care of his mother and Zeena let Ethan go to town and talk to other men. Furthermore, she was even assertive back than because she told Ethan to go to town (she made him go); he didn’t have a say. This lack of authority did and did not bother Ethan. "Her efficiency shamed and dazzled him". (29) Ethan asked her to stay because he “dread of being left alone on the farm”. (29) Furthermore, “She seemed to possess by instinct all the household wisdom that his long apprenticeship had not instilled in him”. (29) If his mother died in the spring, he would have felt more optimistic on taking on life alone because of the bright and warm weather. The winter weather made him feel gloomy, cold (in emotion) and alone.

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  4. 3.) Ethan wants money, specifically "...an advance of fifty dollars" (31). He hints that the additional money is for paying bills or perhaps to impress Mattie, since he said that "After his father's death it had taken time to get his head above water, and he did not want Andrew Hale, or any one else in Starkfield, to think he was going under again. Besides, he hated lying; if he wanted the money he wanted it, and it was nobody's business to ask why" (31). Mr. Hale's comment about building a house for Ned and Ruth causes Ethan to bitterly reflect on his marriage. To Ethan those seven years must have been long and excruciating since "...he reflected grimly that his seven years with Zeena seemed to Starkfield 'not so long'" (32). In addition, Ethan was also dealing with Zeena being sick all the time so the marriage definitely wasn't fun. Jonathan Garofalo

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  5. 1. When Ethan first met Zeena, she was like a breath of fresh air for him. When his mother became "sickly," his cousin Zenobia Pierce came to Starkfield to help him out. Since his mother rarely spoke, he thought that "Zenobia's volubility was music in his ears." (29). She was kind and helpful and he felt as if he owed her something. When his mother died, he asked her to stay with him and marry him. Without her there he would've been "seized with an unreasoning dread of being left alone..." (29). Ethan saw life in Zeena at the time; life that he was missing. Nonetheless, if Ethan's mother had died in the Spring, things would have turned out differently. He wouldn't have needed the warmth that Zeena provided because he wouldn't have felt so cold and desolate in the first place. It would have been easier for him to carry on his life in the summer and spring, without anyone by his side.

    I disagree with Sean in a way about how Ethan is a victim of circumstance and is not to blame for his plight. It is true that life has dealt him a bad hand with both his parents being sick and dying. However, he could have had the strength to move on after his mother died and gone back to college to fulfill his dream. He didn't need another person like Zeena to depend on. Clearly, Ethan is partially to blame for his unhappiness. Zeena being sick all the time has caused him much strife but he did have the choice to say goodbye to her and keep going.

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  6. 5. Mattie sets the table very carefully along with Ethan's "favorite pickles in a gay red glass" (34). When the cat climbs on the table during dinner, this dish is knocked off the table and broken. However, this is not an ordinary glass, but a wedding present that Zeena kept on the "top shelf of the china-closet, where she keeps it will all her best things" (35). The breaking of Zeena's red glass symbolizes the breaking of the marriage of her and Ethan. Ethan plans to keep the break concealed and places it back on the shelf with a plan to get it fixed in time. This can represent the fact that he has feelings for Mattie, but is trying to conceal it for the benefit of Zeena. However, the glass is still broken and the marriage is at that point as well.

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  7. 5)When Mattie sets the dinner table very elegantly.She even takes out a piece of fine china from the china cabinate that Mattie says "she never met it to be used."(35) about Zeena and the dish. When it breaks she is absolutely heat broken and is scared of what Zeena will say "oh Ethan Ethan its to pieces what will Zeena say?"(35) But, I disagree with victor. I believe it symbolizes Zeena and Ethan relationship breaking since it was a marriage gift to them.

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  8. I love how you are challenging each other's ideas!

    Think about why Zeena has changed so much in the seven years of their marriage.

    Keep up the good work!

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  9. I accept Paola’s criticism but, Ethan could not go back to college after Zeena got sick, he owed it to her to help her after she had helped him with his mother. I also agree with Ana that the plate breaking symbolized their relationship breaking apart.

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  10. 05. Mattie sets the table for supper with pride. It is "carefully laid...with fresh doughnuts, stewed blueberries and [Ethan's] favourite pickles in a dish of gay red glass" (34). It is obvious that Mattie makes an effort to make Ethan happy; the fact that she used the precious red glass to house the pickles says a lot. I agree with Ana that the glass breaking is a symbol of Zeena and Ethan's rocky marriage. The breaking of their prized wedding gift is a parallel to their relationship since getting married; it can also be seen as a foreshadowing of the disaster involving Ethan that is to come later in the story.

    06. When greeting Ethan at the door, Mattie "wore her usual dress of darkish stuff" (34). However, "through her hair she had run a streak of crimson ribbon" (34). Clearly, Mattie made it a priority to look nice for her supper with Ethan. The ribbon in her hair "transformed and glorified her" (34), making her even more beautiful. This red color has been associated numerous times with Mattie's personality, beauty, and life-loving nature since the beginning of the story.

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  11. I feel that Ethan is a victim of circumstance and is not responsible for his plight. For example, when Ethan's father died, he had to drop out of college to help support his ill mother as any good child would do. Then Zeena came to help him with taking care of his deteriorating mother. After his mother died, he could have gone to college, but Zeena asked him to marry her. Now, he could have said no but he did not do this because I think he feels that he owe's Zeena that much for her help with his mother. If your keeping count that’s two chances ruined by other circumstances. Zeena is sick all the time and that’s not much fun to Ethan. Now he has to help take care of her so that’s three chances ruined. Now Mattie comes into the picture. This is a breath of fresh air for Ethan. Someone that’s not sick and is fun to be with."Oh would you Ethan that would be lovely"(19). That’s when Ethan asked if she would want to go coasting with him. That right there is something that he can't do with Zeena. So, yes Mattie is the last chance for Ethan. Three times what Ethan wanted to do was ruined and none of them his fault. The fourth time is when Ethan shall get what he wants.

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  12. 4. On his way home from the stable, Ethan notices two things. First, he sees an outline of of two shapes which then conjoined into one. He hears a kiss and the sound of laughter and realized it was Ned Hale and Ruth Varnum who had just gotten engaged. He suprised them and they ran off. Ethan was happy to see two people in love share the same spot Mattie and him "had stood with such thirst for each other in their hearts; but he felt a pang at the thought that these two need not hide their happiness"(32). Ethan was jealous of the fact that Ruth and Ned can publically show their feelings for eachother, something he cannot do with Mattie. The next thing Ethan passes as he is walking are the graves and he stops in front of one in particular that says,"sacred to the memory of Ethan Frome and endurance his wife who dwelled together in peace for fifty years"(33). Ethan said he used to think that fifty years sounded like a long time to live together with someone, but now it seems like it would pass by in a flash. This gets Ethan wondering that when their time comes,will the same message would be said about him and Zeena? Inside I think Ethan is depressed, thinking about his ife with Zeena and how unhappy he is. He doesn't want to live like he is yet he keeps everything inside and doesn't tell anyone how he truly feels.

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  13. 6. The color bow that Mattie wears in her hair is red " through her hair she had run a streak of crimson ribbon " ( 34). Crimson is a dark red color. The red symbolizes the romance that is shared between Mattie and Ethan and how they feel about each other. Red is often associated with passion, love, lust and great emotion. The color red is present only with Mattie which is to be expectted. This is expected due to the fact that everything else in the novel truly shows a pure,true, happy emotion. Zeena shows emotion with her "love" but, the love between her and Ethan is tanted.

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  14. Although, I can see the viewpoint from which Sean is coming from, I respectfully disagree that Ethan is a victim of circumstance.

    8.) Ethan Frome is to blame for his plight. He was not being bound by chains in his family tradition to stay in the Frome household. Furthermore, after the death of his mother, he could have just as easily sold the house and gone back to school to pursue his aspiration to study engineering. Frome had a choice when he asked Zeena to live with him, and simply because he chose the wrong choice does not qualify him now as a victim of circumstance. It is clear to the reader that Frome didn't love Zeena when he asked her to stay with him."He had often thought since that it would not have happened if his mother had died in spring instead of winter...."(29). This proves that his desicion was not based by emotions he might have had for Zeena, but simply because he did not want to be lonely during the cold and isolated winter. Something as simple as the season could have altered his decision. Zeena, on the other hand, stayed with Ethan because she honestly and truly loves him and there I believe Zeena is the real victim. She was guided into a relationship with someone who never felt the same as she did, nor does he value her feels. Not once does Frome express concern for Zeena's sickness. He only sees her as a obstacle in between his and Mattie’s newly growing relationship. In addition, Mattie Silver does not represent Ethan's last chance at happiness. It is simply another example of poor misjudgment on his part. Poor Zeena Frome is a descent wife that loves Ethan and it would be foolish of him to hurt her further than she already has been from her sickness. Ethan Frome has made his bed and now he must lie in it. With all he has done to Zeena he could at least stay truthful to her marriage, even though he married her under the wrong pretenses.
    -Casey Heed

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  15. 1. When Ethan first met Zeena she was very similar to how Mattie is now. He was extremely relieved at how well she took care of his mother, and she was finally a socible person whom he could once again talk to; to him, Zeena was like a rainbow after a long storm. "...Zeena's volubility was music in his ears"(29).Ethan asked her to stay with him because he didnt want to be alone anymore, through those long winters in Starkfield. Zeena, on the other hand, agreed to marry him because she truly loved him. It would have made an emmense difference if Ethans mother had died in the spring rather than the winter. If she had, it would have been easier for Ethan to let Zeena go, and he wouldnt have been stuck in a marriage where they were both so unhappy.

    5. Mattie set the dinner table with the very best of everything, both in food and table ware. "...with fresh doughnuts, stewed blueberries and his favorite pickles in a dish of gay red glass"(34).This red dish gets broken, symbolizing the loss of Zeenas innocents. When Zeena first came to Starkfield, she was very similar to Mattie. The dish, a wedding gift, is red. Red is also the color to symbolize Mattie. This dish shows the connection between them; when it breaks, it shows how Zeena changed and lost that vibrant part of her personality through the years with Ethan.

    -Jessica Corrado

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  16. 8.) I think Sean's answer is understandable but I believe that Ethan could be to blame for the situation that he is in. He married someone he did not love, and that is a big problem. He was well aware of what was going to happen if he began a life with someone he was not in love with, and now he regrets his decision. I understand it was a hard decision to make, but if Ethan truly wanted to finish his studies he could have figured out a way to complete them. I do agree that Mattie is Ethan's chance at happiness, and that he should break his streak of bad decisions and start living his life for himself and not for others.

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  17. 7) Some reminders of Zeena include her the cat and her rocking chair. Throughout dinner, and Ethan and Mattie's time alone after dinner, the cat is watching them. At one point it is said, "The cat, who had been a puzzled observer of these unusual movements, jumped up into Zeena'a chair, rolled itself into a ball, and lay watching them with narrowed eyes" (37). The cat almost takes the place of Zeena throughout the night and Ethan and Zeena are really never left alone with one another. The cat knows that something is going on between the two and makes the night more tense. The cat effects the mood by making it a less relaxed time for Ethan and Mattie to share with one another. It causes commotion, for example the breaking of the plate. In addition, the chair is a reminder due the cat jumping off of it and leaving it rocking, almost leaving a presense of Zeena in the room. Overall the cat and the rocking chair are two very strong reminders of Zeena throughout the time that Ethan wanted to make special with Mattie.

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  18. 8.) I disagree with Sean on the debate of Ethan being a victim, or responsible for where he is in life. I think that Ethan IS to blame for his current situation. Instead of allowing Zeena to return home to her family, he asked her to stay, because he "was seized with an unreasoning dread of being left alone on the farm" (29). Ethan kept Zeena for fear of being lonely. He married her because he admired her doctoring skills, and “her efficiency shamed and dazzled him” (29). Ethan’s marriage was not arranged; he married Zeena on his own accord, making it his own fault, not bad luck that he has to live with her. It is unfortunate that Zeena has become so ill, but he does not stand by her side in making sure she is alright. Zeena lives with Ethan, but they are far apart from each other. He is in a loveless marriage because he does not love his wife; his wife, however, loves him. Ethan has neglected his wife, causing her to become even sicker, and much of her physical illness is caused by the sickness she has in her heart because the one she married for love, married her for company and ease. Ethan had the option to not have Zeena stay, or to not marry her, and go off to college and pursue his dreams. Mattie coming to stay with them is another choice in life Ethan has to make. He is a married man, and should stay faithful to his wife, but Mattie is serving as a temptation for him to make another mistake and hurt his wife even further.

    5.) I agree with Victor that “it could symbolize Ethan and Mattie's relationship being destroyed in a horrible unfortunate accident”. Here we see red being used to symbolize again, but in the glassware. It is red, like Mattie’s ribbon, symbolizing the love that was supposed to have been between Ethan and Zeena, but was now being used between Ethan and Mattie. The plates were held up in a cabinet, out of reach, much like Ethan and Zeena’s love. It’s hardly ever touched, and never shown. Mattie using the plates shows that she wishes she shared that love for Ethan. The plate breaking can symbolize Ethan’s and Mattie’s chances falling and shattering apart. When he puts the plate back, hidden in the cabinet, it symbolizes how he will pretend that the feelings were never shown, but there will always be those broken pieces left unmended in his and Zeena’s relationship.

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  19. 1. When Ethan and Zeena were first together to take care of Ethan's mother, Zeena was Ethan's life source. Since his mother fell ill, there was little communication for Ethan in the house or even in the village. Zeena was sweet, and she brought warmth to the house that Ethan had been missing for quite some time. By the time Zeena was ready to leave, "...he was seized with an unreasoning dread of being left alone on the farm; and before he know what he was doing he had asked her to stay there with him" (29). Ethan had no intentions of getting married, especially to Zeena. He might have not asked Zeena for her hand in marriage if it were spring when his mother died because the cold of the winter was a reminder of the cold isolation he felt from others. If it were spring, he might have been more at ease with the warm air and sunny days, and Ethan would have had a better chance at communicating.

    6. During the night that Ethan and Mattie are left home alone, Mattie weaves a crimson ribbon through her hair. Yet again, the color of red symbolizes the warmth and passion she brings to not only the house, but Ethan as well. "This tribute to the unusual transformed and glorified her" (34). Ethan notices her new ribbon and it brings happiness to him, as do other moments when her face is turning red. "She flushed red as the question escaped her" (35). Every time Mattie brought up Zeena in conversation, her face turned red and brought an awkwardness between Ethan and Mattie. Neither of them wanted to think about her on her absence, but she was constantly brought up; and every time Zeena was brought up, Ethan was reminded of the life and warmth that Mattie brought, even more so while Zeena was away.

    -Erin Infelice

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  20. 5.) When Ethan Arrives home after his delivery Matt has set the table for dinner. The table is described as being set carefully and with some of Ethan's favorite foods. While eating dinner the cat jumps on the table an knocks over a jar that Zeena had gotten as a wedding present. This is significant and can symbolize a few things. One being that Matt is a major influence in the distancing of Ethan And Zeena by accident. However, the destruction of both is still, in part, her fault. When the cat knocks over the jar Ethan says "Well, she'll have to say it to the cat, any way!". Although it was the cat who knocked it over it was Zeena's fault she put it out when she knew how important it was to Zeena. This is similar to how, "by accident", Matt has come to the farm and Ethan has fallen in love with her.Even though the occurrence of Ethan falling in love was not her fault, she did nothing to stop it, thus in part she is guilty. Much like the falling of the vase, not her fault, and yet she did nothing to prevent it such as keeping it where it should have been. Another thing it could symbolize is Matt trying to stay loyal to Zeena but failing to do so. The vase might have been, possibly, an attempt for Ethan to be reminded he has a wife. Perhaps Mattie feels bound to Zeena to at least try to keep
    Matt and Ethan apart for Zeena's sake. When the vase falls it could symbolize her attempts are faulty and she fails at trying to be loyal.

    4. On his way home Ethan spots a young couple who are engaged kissing. They are embarrassed at being caught and leave. "It pleased Ethan to have surprised a pair of lovers on the spot where he and Mattie had stood with such a thirst for each other in their hearts". At first Ethan is understanding and happy, remembering how he had felt in that same spot, longing to do the same thing. But soon he begins to feel "a pang at the thought that these two need not hide their happiness.". This quote from the book shows his longing to not have to love secretly and be happy like the couple is. The other sight he see's is Denis Eady on the road with his father. Ethan is jealous and feels a violent ebb towards him as he thinks of him going to see Mattie. "The cutter was going in the direction of the Frome farm, and Ethan's heart contracted as he listened to the dwindling bells.", it is clear that the appearance of Eady and him going in the direction of the farm gave him a sense of Envy.

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  21. 4) On his way home, Ethan Frome notices two sights. One was the a grave and the other was a couple kissing. The first was Ned and Ruth kissing behind the Varnum spruces. As he was walking home from his meeting with Mr. Hale, Ethan sees "...two seperate shapes and then [they] conjoined again" (pg 32). His response to this was that he was pleased to "..have suprised a pair of lovers on the spot where he and Mattie had stood with a thirst for each other hearts.."(pg 32). The fact that it reminded hi, of mattie made me think that it brought a little joy to his heart. The second sight that Ethan passed was his parents grave which had "interested him deeply as a boy because it bore his name...(pg 33). Ethan responds to this by thinking of his life with Zeena. At the time, he had thought that 50 years was a long time to live together, but now it didn't seem long at all. This makes Ethan recall his past with his parents with his sickly mother, and now to think of his life with poor, sickly wife Zeena.

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  22. I agree with Marissa's explanation for Ethan's unhappiness. Even though he had a hard time dealing with the loss of his parents, he could have focused on himself and go back to college rather than depending on Zeena. Now that Ethan regrets his decision, he is blaming Zeena for his unhappiness. I agree with Sean's idea of Ethan feels something for Mattie Silver that he had never felt for Zeena, but I think he got himself into the situation of his unhappiness and Zeena doesn't deserve to be cheated on by Ethan with her own cousin.

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  23. I have to disagree with Sean and say that I don't think Ethan is a victim of circumstance. Yes both of his parents died and that is a very sad fact of his life, but if he had had the necessary strong will and determination, his life wouldn't have to be so burnt out. If Ethan had made better choices he would be in a much better situation. For example, Ethan should have absolutely went back to college after his mother died and finished his education toppursue his dream. Instead he married Zeena and is now trapped in a loveless marriage. I think that Ethan should get out of his loveless marriage with Zeena for both of their sakes, since Mattie is Ethan's last hope of being happy because only she has the sunshine personality that is necessary to pull Ethan out of the slum of a life he currently lives day by day.

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  24. 1. What was Zeena like when Ethan first met her? Why did Ethan ask her to stay? What difference might it have made if his mother had died in spring?
    In the early days of Zeena and Ethan’s acquaintance, Zeena was healthy and lively, the opposite of Ethan’s ailing mother. Her cheerfulness brought some needed light into Ethan’s dreary world, and Ethan was greatly thankful for it. The following quote reveals how Zeena’s presence brightened his days: “He felt that he might have ‘gone like his mother’ if the sound of a new voice had not come to steady him. Zeena seems to understand his case at a glance. She laughed at him for not knowing the simplest sick-bed duties and told him to ‘go right along out’ and leave her to see things. The mere fact of obeying her orders, of feeling free to go about his business again and talk with other men, restored his shaken balance and magnified his sense of what he owed her” (29). Zeena clearly served as Ethan’s savior, for she brought him out of his isolation. Ethan was growing restless in the house, caring for his mother every hour of the day. He had no one to talk to, for his mother did not speak in the last of her ailing days. Ethan was in dire need for not only a fresh voice, but some new air, and Zeena allowed him to have that. She brought life back into the cold house. Ethan could not risk being alone in that house again, growing senile from the loneliness and the isolation; therefore, he could not let Zenna go. The following quote reveals Ethan’s true inner feelings: “After the funeral, when she saw her preparing to go away, he was seized with an unreasoning dread of being left alone on the farm; and before he knew what he was doing he had asked her to stay there with him” (29). If Ethan’s mother had died in the spring, the outcome of the situation would have been entirely different. Ethan would have been comforted by the life that spring offers, enough so that he wouldn’t have needed Zeena to stay with him. The life and vitality of spring would have been enough to boost him through his mother’s death and into the rest of his life.

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  25. When Ethan met Zeeena she was a breathe of fresh air for him. She came to Starkfield to help him when his mother was sick. I agree with Paola that the reason Ethan asked Zeena to stay and marry him is because he felt he owed it to her after the help she gave him when his mom was sick. He also wanted her to stay as a companion for him after his mother died in the winter. I also agree that if Ethan's mom had died in the spring it would have been easier for him to continue without needing Zeena living with him. The cold left him in desperation and that is why he needed Zeena's accompaniment, no because of love.

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  26. 4) The first sight Ethan sees on his way home is Ned Hale and Ruth Varnum kissing. This event happens to be at the same spot Ethan and Mattie had stood the night before. This pleased Ethan to surprise the pair of lovers in the same spot where him and Mattie had stood with such thirst for each other in their hearts. However, it also made Ethan jealous for the fact that this couple did not have to hide their happiness in being together. (32) The second sight Ethan saw on his way home was a gravestone that bore his name. The headstone read "Sacred to the memory of Ethan Frome and his wife who dwelled together in peace for fifty years." (33) As a boy Ethan thought fifty years sounded like a long time but now he came to think that it could fly by. He began to wonder if the same message would be written for him and Zeena when they were gone. -Anneliese Marcojohn

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  27. 5. How does Mattie set the dinner table? What gets broken, and what might it symbolize?
    When Zeena takes a special trip over to Bettsbridge to see a new physician, Mattie decides to make a special dinner for Ethan. She carefully and elegantly sets the table with donuts, stewed blueberries, and Ethan’s favorite pickles in a beautiful red glass. This red glass is no ordinary glass, it was a wedding gift from Zeena’s aunt. The following quote from the novel perfectly sums up the importance of the glass: “ ‘Yes, but, you see, she never meant it should be used, not even when there was company; and I had to get up on the step-ladder to reach it down from the top shelf of the china-closet, where she keeps it with all her best things…’ ” (35). Unfortunately, the cat accidentally knocks the glass to floor during the meal and it crashes to pieces. The fact that the glass is broken symbolizes the final split in Ethan’s marriage. Ethan even hides the broken shards of the glass and plans to glue them back together later. This symbolizes the fact that Ethan tries to conceal his feelings for Mattie in order to prevent Zeena’s heart from being crushed, but the glass has been broken, and so has their marriage. He may try to glue it back together, but it will never work.

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  28. 7) During Ethan and Mattie’s time alone together, certain events take place in which signify Zeena’s presence. One example could through Puss, the cat. “They drew their seats up to the table, and the cat, unbidden, jumped between them into Zeena’s empty chair.” This event signifies Puss taking the place of Zeena while she is away, “watching them with narrowed eyes.” Furthermore, Zeena’s chair, which is constantly facing Ethan, may represent how Zeena is still present in Ethan’s life. “Zeena’s empty rocking-chair stood facing him. Mattie rose obediently and seated herself in it.” (37) This event may signify how Mattie is taking the place of Zeena in Ethan’s life, despite the fact that Zeena is still around and well aware of Ethan’s “secret” love for Mattie. These reminders destroy the mood of two’s evening, bringing a cold, embarrassed awkwardness whenever Zeena is, or at least hinted to be mentioned.

    5) Mattie sets the dinner table with “fresh doughnuts, stewed blueberries and his favourite pickles in a fish of gay red glass.” This layout is far from the norm for Ethan, including a variety of colors and fresh, pleasant food. This may symbolize Mattie’s fresh, warm effect on Ethan’s normally cold, dull life. The dinner is accompanied by Puss, the cat, who acts as a watchful eye over Ethan and Mattie. Not only does the cat act as Zeena’s presence, but it also is a symbol of how Zeena, (at least in Ethan’s eyes), is keeping Ethan and Mattie from being happy together. This is demonstrated on page 35, when Puss causes the pickle dish to break during Mattie and Ethan’s dinner together. Mattie’s reaction to the dish seemed to Ethan to be like the “shattered fragments of their evening.” The dish, being a wedding gift, may be like Ethan and Zeena’s shattered marriage destroyed by Puss (Zeena) upon the verification of Ethan’s love for Mattie.

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  29. I agree with Sean; Ethan is a victim of loveless marriage. That being said, who's fault is it that he is in that horrible marriage? He has only himself to blame. In addition, there is no evidence within in the book to even indicate that he makes an attempt to dig himself out of his dull life. All he does is break his back working all day at a job that he hates. He could easily leave Zeena for the city, but he doesn't, he stays in his dreary position. Therefore, Ethan is a victim, but he doesn't make much of an effort to relieve his pain.

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  30. I totally agree with Nicole's explanations of the reminders. The cat does mae the moments Ethan has alone with Mattie more tense and the cat even makes Ethan guilty and tries to separate them.For example when "The cat, unnoticed, had crept up on muffled paws from Zeena's seatto the table, and was stealthily elongating it body in the direction of the milk jug, which stood between ethan and Mattie" (35) Therefore showing and supporting that the cat is a reminder of Zeena and almost takes Zeena's plave while she is gone. In addition, the plate that got broken symbolizes a reminder."The cat profiting by this unusal demonstration, tried to effect an unnoticed retreat, and in doing so backed into the pickle-dish, which fellto the floor, with a crash"(35)This demonstrates that when the plate breaks, it shows Ethan what will happen with his marriage to Zeena. In conclusion, reminders are constanly reminding Ethan about his wife, which was stopping him fro "making a move" on Mattie.

    On a separatenote I would also like to piont out that the cat was the one who cause the pickle-dish to break.

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  31. 5. Mattie set the dinner table for supper. She put fresh doughnuts, stewed blueberries, and Ethan's favourite pickles. She placed these in a dish that Zeena tresured greatly and never used. The dish was a red glass dish that she kept on top of the china closet. She and Ethan had gotten it as a wedding present from her aunt in Philidephia. The dish breaks into pieces on the floor. The breaking of the dish symbolizes how Zeena and Ethan's marriage is falling apart. Though Zeena loves her husband, Ethan's heart belongs to another. He holds compassion for Mattie in his heart. The breaking of the dish shows an even bigger void forming than the one that previously existed between them.

    6. Mattie is wearing a crimpson colored ribbon in her hair at dinner with Ethan. The crimpson coloring of the ribbon symbolizes the characteristics of warmth, love, and compassion. These characteristics had been missing from Ethan's life and marriage. When Mattie comes into the picture, Ethan is revealed to these feelings that he had been missing. These feelings he holds for Mattie shows him what he has been missing. He ineptly tries to show Mattie how he feels about her, being as he's never had these feelings for someone before.

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  32. 7) Reminders of Zeena appear frequently thruought Ethans evening with Mattie. Her name comes up in conversation and the cat seems to symbolize Zeena. When the cat sits on Zeenas chair and watches them, Ethan gets the feeling that Zeena is right there in the room with them. Each time one of these occurs, the mood suddenly becomes alkward and dreary untill something happens to change it again.
    5)During their dinner The cat accidentally knocks over a piece of Zeenas fine China that they were using without her knowing. The jar shatters on the floor. This incident could foreshadow a future tragedy such as Eathan's "Smash Up". It could also be symbolic of Zeena and Ethans relationship. Ethan and mattie hide using the jar like they hide their feelings for eachother. when the jar breaks and Ethan tries to cover it up, it symbolizes him trying to hide their secret.

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