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Word Count: 493
Wharton emphasizes the theme of hopelessness and failure numerous times throughout the novel As a young child Ethan dreamed of studying science but his dreams were shattered when he was obligated to return to the farm to care for his ailing mother After she died in fear of being alone married Zeena and ever since then he could not seem to get away from his predetermined life on the farm The theme is emphasizes the theme through the use of symbolism point-of-view and setting Zeena cared so much about a dull pickle dish that she literally cried when she found out that it was broken while she was away The dish shows how is unable to love people so she gives all of her love to inanimate objects that can never return the love proving that the relationship between Zeena and Ethan is hopeless and without love It also symbolizes failure in the relationship between Mattie and Ethan due to the fact that in reality they will never be able to be together The narrator a young engineer tells the story of Ethan Frome The first and last parts of the story are told in first person while the middle part is told in third person limited-omniscient The narrator knows Ethan as a tall grizzled old man and became interested in him and through many sources including Ethan himself educated himself about the mysterious Ethan Frome The point-of-view is significant to the story because it allows for flashbacks which is the form that the majority of the novel is in Without the use of flashbacks the story would be much longer because the narrator would have to give more background information In Starkfield Massachusetts Ethan lives with his hypochondriac wife Zeena They live on a small rundown farm in a poor farming community Ethans childhood dream was to escape the predetermined life that was passed on from his parents He went to school
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