The novel “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton, expressed that the influence of circumstances can affect the aspects of a person’s life, just as it did with the character Ethan Frome. For instance, Ethan inherited the family farm and sawmill while facing the adversity of maintaining agriculture but keep true to his family traditions. Secondly, Ethan will experience his parent’s misfortune, self-sacrifice, an unpleasant marriage and the emotions of human desire; furthermore, testing his character. The novel will have symbolic meanings throughout the story to symbolize the events of America’s society shared in its history and based on individual’s life experiences. For these reasons, Ethan’s life is unique, it resembles the different types of experiences that America and its society deals with.
The Frome’s family farm did not have a reputation of a rich plantation that flourished with many fields of crop, nor did they have a wealth of animals grazing on the property. For example, the Starkfield neighbors viewed the farm to “always ‘bout as bare’s a milkpan when the cat’s been round”, (Walton, par. 19) and that analogy provided the history of the Frome’s farmland. A family’s farmland with a reputation of this magnitude is extremely negative, because the American farmers expression “of an agrarian-capitalist ideology” (Sweet, par. 3) corresponded with their marketed relations for social and political stability. Ethan would work hard and struggle being so poor; however, his work from the sawmill would “yielded scarcely enough to keep his household through the winter” (Walton, par. 18). Regardless of the hardship, Ethan would cope with what he had inherited, and be humble with he had to work with.
The Fromes family presented dysfunction; hence, the reason for Ethan being so humble. First of all Ethan’s parents did not leave much for him as “his folks ate up most everything” (Wharton, par. 22) that provided for the farm and sawmill. Then, the novel stated Ethan’s father was kick while haying and this caused damage to his brain; meanwhile, that injury influenced the fathers’ action of giving away the family’s money before death. In addition to a dysfunctional father, his mother suffered from a mental illness and “the loneliness of the house grew more oppressive” (Wharton, sec. IV; par. 5) to the point at which she became more of a burden. Ethan would be the sole provider for a sick mother, responsible for an unsuccessful farm and a sawmill that barely paid the bills. In conclusion, Ethan represented to be a son with a lot of responsibility but the willingness to continue his father’s duties.
In the 1900’s, it was apparent that family traditions included working on the farm and providing for the family; incidentally, in some cases it set aside personal ambitions. For instance, Ethan Frome did not have a “taste for agriculture”, “wanted to be an engineer” (Wharton, sec. IV; par. 7) and move away from Starkfield to live in a larger town. The article, “Looking...