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Ethan Frome as a Psychological NovelWhen Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote his novel The Scarlet Letter he was praised as being the father of the psychological novel Since the completion of his landmark story many other authors have taken their work in similar directions and have tried to reveal human psychology through their writing Authors have been trying to convey truths about human behavior and explain the human psyche often unsuccessfully Edith Whartons novel Ethan From is an excellent example of a novel that succeeds in revealing truths She fills her characters with nuances that reflect the subconscious and her setting is alive with reflected symbolism She is able to interpret the characters actions in a way that can relate to all humans Each word and phrase seems to be chosen so that it reflects a part of the subconscious in the characters Edith Whartons Ethan Frome is a psychological examination of the human mind based on her use of setting to reflect emotion characterization to show human tendencies towards chaos and other psychological aspects of the human mind In Ethan Frome Wharton uses the setting to show the feelings and psychology of the characters Because the tone of the novel is somber and the characters suffer greatly Wharton used the gothic technique of matching the scenery to the characters emotions The principal setting of the novel is Starkfield which is a small farming based community The houses are mostly several miles from the center of town Richard Worth a literary critic says of Starkville even the name suggests utter desolation 64 The name of the town gives the initial impression of the mindset of the characters hopelessness The New England winter the physical landscape can reinforce psychic tensions oppressing the people in the community McDowell 85 The narrator Harmon Gow describes the setting and says the winter set down on Starkfield and the village lay under a sheet of snow perpetually renewed from the pale
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