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A setting can have various effects on different people it usually acts as either a benefactor or cursor More often then not the setting tends to mirror a characters feelings andor emotions In Edith Whartons short story Ethan Frome the protagonist Ethan has himself ultimately become a victim of his surroundings having been in Starkfield too many winters 5 A hindrance to Ethan and his desires the elements of winter and their terrible barrage on Ethans morality are what direct the actions of the novel In the story the setting reflects the attitudes and different outlooks of the characters helping to shape and direct the tales plot This depiction of setting can be specifically examined through various physical surroundings and the weather The weather depicts the characters as embodiments of winter which foreshadows the plot of the story In the opening scene Ethan outside in the cold is watching Mattie dance The narrator describes the conditions from which Ethan is completely withdrawn The night was so perfectly still and the air so dry and pure that it gave little sensation of cold 11 Ethan is so amazingly transfixed that he does not realize anything else solely seeing Mattie in a new light Ethans state of absolute withdrawal from everything else is permitted by the dryness and purity of the air This scene introduces the intense bond between Ethan and Mattie and prefigures their relations to come Next when Zeena leaves to get treatment from a doctor it leaves Ethan and Mattie alone in the house The refreshened mood now that Zeena has left is one of utter happiness The narrator depicts the atmosphere around Mattie He describes how It was warm and bright in the kitchen 28 These conditions that are normally associated with good weather can also reflect the happiness of
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