Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

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I had to write an analysis on the book for class, and my final assessment was simple: Ethan Frome is a well-written, sadistic bedtime story.
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Synopsis

"Ethan Frome" is considered by many to be one of Edith Wharton's greatest literary accomplishments. Set in rural New England, "Ethan Frome" is the story of its title character who marries Zenobia, a nagging hypochondriac of a woman, and finds himself trapped in an unfulfilling life. When Zenobia's young cousin Mattie Silver comes to live with them, Frome falls in love with her. Ethan Frome is the story of forbidden love and its tragic consequences.
 

About Edith Wharton

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America's most famous woman of letters, and the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize, Edith Wharton was born into one of the last "leisured class" families in New York City, as she put it, in 1862. Educated privately, she was married to Edward Wharton in 1885, and for the next few years they spent their time in the high society of Newport, Rhode Island, then Lenox, Massachusetts, and Europe. It was in Europe that Wharton first met Henry James, who was to have a profound and lasting influence on her life and work. Wharton's first published book was a work of nonfiction in collaboration with Ogden Codman, The Decoration of Houses (1897), but from early on, her marriage had been a source of distress, and she was advised by her doctor to write fiction to relieve her nervous tension. Wharton's first short stories appeared in Scribner's Magazine, and although she published several volumes of fiction around the turn of the century, including The Greater Inclination (1899), The Touchstone (1900), Crucial Instances (1901), The Valley of Decision (1902), Sanctuary (1903), and The Descent of Man and Other Stories (1904), it was not until the publication of the bestselling The House of Mirth in 1905 that she was recognized as one of the most important novelists of her time for her keen social insight and subtle sense of satire. In 1906 Wharton visited Paris, which inspired Madame de Treymes (1907), and made her home there in 1907, finally divorcing her husband in 1912. The years before the outbreak of World War I represent the core of her artistic achievement with the publication of Ethan Frome in 1911, The Reef in 1912, and The Custom of the Country in 1913. During the war she remained in France organizing relief for Belgian refugees, for which she was later awarded the Legion of Honor. She also wrote two novels about the war, The Marne (1918) and A Son at the Front (1923), and although living in France she continued to write about New England and the Newport society she knew so well and described in Summer (1917), the companion to Ethan Frome, and The Age of Innocence (1920), for which she won the Pulitzer Prize. Her other works include Old New York (1924), The Mother's Recompense (1925), The Writing of Fiction (1925), The Children (1928), Hudson River Bracketed (1929), and her autobiography, A Backward Glance (1934). She died in France in 1937.
 
Published March 11, 2016 by OUP Oxford. 98 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Horror, History, Romance, Comics & Graphic Novels, Children's Books, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Humor & Entertainment, Action & Adventure, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Self Help, Parenting & Relationships, Arts & Photography, Crime, Erotica. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Ethan Frome
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Good
Reviewed by Cindi Rose on Apr 02 2012

It's a story that many almost-adults would do well to read and take some life lessons from. Perhaps, however, it is one of those books that is best read by an adult who has lived some life and can easily relate to the situation of Ethan, Zeena and Mattie.

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'Bout Books

Good
Reviewed by Louise on Mar 18 2009

I had to write an analysis on the book for class, and my final assessment was simple: Ethan Frome is a well-written, sadistic bedtime story.

Read Full Review of Ethan Frome

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