Edith Wharton’s Writing Style Essay

1367 words - 5 pages

[Type text] [Type text] [Type text]6BroderRachael BroderAP EnglishMrs. Collura2 October 2014Edith Wharton's Writing StyleEvery author has their own unique writing style that defines their work. Edith Wharton, author of such works as Ethan Frome and "Roman Fever", has a very distinguished style. One thing that stands out about her writing is her use of imagery. Wharton uses intense imagery to establish the characters and setting. This allows the reader to become completely immersed in the story. This aspect of her writing is what has allowed her work to survive through the years.According to LiteraryDevices.net, imagery is the, "…use of figurative language to represent objects, actions and ideas in such a way that it appeals to our physical senses"(Bavota). Wharton's novel, Ethan Frome, is an impeccable example of her skillful use of imagery. Her characters are brought to life because of this. She describes Ethan Frome as, "…bleak and unapproachable in his face, and he was so stiffened and grizzled that I took him for an old man and was surprised to hear that he was no more than fifty-two" (Wharton, Ethan Frome 11). Wharton quickly establishes the main character, Ethan Frome, through her use of such words as "stiffened", "grizzled", and "bleak". These words allow the reader to envision the form of a jaded, exhausted man. Wharton also describes Ethan after his crash as having a, "…red gash…" across his forehead (Ethan Frome 11). The use of the word "gash" constructs a more vivid picture then if she had used a word such as "cut", which takes away the significance of this piece of information. Zeena Frome is described as:…Tall and angular, one hand drawing a quilted counterpane to her flat breast, while the other held a lamp. The light, on a level with her chin, drew out of the darkness her puckered throat and the projecting wrist of the hand that clutched the quilt, and deepened fantastically the hollows and prominences of her high-boned face under its rings of crimping-pins (Wharton, Ethan Frome 40).The imagery in this passage inspires a nightmarish image of Zeena. Contrary to how Zeena is depicted, Mattie Silver is portrayed using bright and joyful words. Wharton describes her as having a, "…slim young throat and the brown wrist no bigger than a child's. Then, striking upward, it threw a lustrous fleck on her lips, edged her eyes with velvet shade, and laid a milky whiteness above the black curve of her brows" (Ethan Frome 64). Using words like "lustrous" emphasizes her youth and vivaciousness, which helps to complete the image of Mattie in our heads. Wharton describes minor characters just as vividly. Denis Eady is described as having, "…a shock of black hair…" (Wharton, Ethan Frome 29), which perfectly depicts how his hair stands out against his surroundings and is a very distinguishing feature. Wharton's use of imagery in every character's description helps to make the book more complete...

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