I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story.

Describe our narrator.

Some questions you may want to consider:

  • Who is he?
  • What is he doing in Starkfield?
  • Can we rely on his judgment?  Why or why not?
  • What does the narrator learn about Frome from other characters?
    • What effect does this knowledge have on the narrator?
    • On the reader?

As always, please follow the rules of standard American English in your comment and reply to your classmates comments as the discussion evolves over the course of the evening.

Some reminders:

  • Quality is very important.  Make sure you provide ample detailed, text-based evidence for your observations
  • Quantity is ALSO very important.  A well-developed blog with ample evidence tends to be 300-500 words.

Remember also, that a part of your homework tonight is to annotate the text (use lots of post-its to mark interesting, surprising, or confusing passages – and mark on the post-its what your thoughts are).  Also, write at least 2 (two) EXCELLENT discussion questions to spark tomorrow’s conversation.

Ethan Frome blog #1

43 thoughts on “I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story.

  1. After reading the beginning of Ethan Frome, there are some things that I’ve noticed about the author. He is living in Starkfield because he “had been sent by (his) employers on a job connected with the big power-house at Corbury Junction, and a long-drawn carpenters’ strike had so delayed the work that I found myself anchored at Starkfield…” (pp. 6). The narrator has lodged with a women named Mrs. Ned Hale. We don’t know anything about this man’s personal life, but I think that he has a curious personality. He is curious about a man named Ethan Frome, who is seen going to the post office. Ethan Frome is a silent man, and he appears sullen and lonely to the narrator. The narrator then makes it his mission to learn Ethan’s story. His friend, Harmon Gow. Harmon seems to know the story quite well, but his perspective has a lot of gaps that the narrator notices. “Guess he’s been in Starkfield too many winters. Most of the smart ones get away.” “Why didn’t he?” “Somebody had to stay and care for the folks. There warn’t ever anybody but Ethan. Fust his father-then his mother-then his wife.” (pp. 5) The woman who had our narrator lodging with her had said that “it was awful..” (pp. 8) But it is never specified what was so awful in Ethan’s life. Then, the narrator asks Ethan to allow him to ride in his sleigh to his job, and Ethan agrees. From the experience, the narrator has noticed that Ethan is a silent, but kind man, and that he is poor. Ethan also was interested in bio-chemistry, similar to the narrator. “Does that sort of thing interest you?” “It used to.” “If you’d like to look the book through I’d be glad to leave it with you.” “He hesitated, and I had the impression that he felt himself about to yield to a stealing tide of inertia; then, “Thank you- I’ll take it.” (pp. 11) So now the narrator has learned that Ethan isn’t very smart, but he would like to learn more. Then at the end of the chapter, the reader as well as the narrator learn that Ethan Frome is a good and charitable man because he offers the narrator to stay in his home through the storm. The narrator agrees to, and he is excited to finally get an inside look of Ethan’s life. The narrator may be a little too nosy in my opinion, but perhaps meeting Ethan and getting to know him can change the narrator’s life. Also, I am wondering what made Ethan seem so interesting to our narrator, and why the narrator would like to know all there is to know about Ethan Frome.

    • Nice job, Ashley! I agree with your last statement, I would also like to ascertain why the narrator is so attached to Ethan Frome.

    • Your response provided very good information, and I totally agree with it! When he accepted the book, I began to think that Ethan isn’t the quiet and mysterious man that others think. He has interests (such as bio chemistry) and seems to be a very kind-hearted man.

  2. Our narrator in Ethan Frome is Edith Wharton, an author, who is looking back on this situation. Wharton had seen Ethan Frome around the town near the post office. She described him as stiff and grizzled, and that he looked older than he actually was. Wharton found out that he was only fifty-two from her friend, Harmon Gow. Also, she found out from others that he seldom talked, and when he did, he spoke in a low tone. She also learned from Gow that Ethan Frome’s family was tough, and that Ethan could grow to be 100. Wharton was surprised, saying that he already looked dead. We cannot accept her vision of Ethan Frome, since she did not get her evidence from people who were close to Frome, or related to him. Also, she had no way of seeing how his personal life went, making us a little uneasy about whether or not to accept her theory.

    What happened to Ethan Frome to make him how he is?
    How do the others know about his life if he is so antisocial?

    • After reading your comment I understand who the narrator is, and your opinion on how the author’s vision of Ethan isn’t truly factual. To answer your questions, I believe that Ethan’s past and how he had to care for his family for a big portion of his life has affected him. And as he’d look after his family, his neighbors knew of this responsibility so they’d be kind to him, and perhaps they knew him prior to his duty.

    • I find it unlikely that Edith is the actual narrator. So far, he hasn’t been named. Also, this is a fictional story, so the narrator is probably not the author. Take Percy Jackson, for example. That’s written in first person point of view, but the narrator isn’t Rick Riordan (the author of the series).

  3. Our narrator is a person who has been sent down to Ethan Frome’s town for his job. “I had been sent up by my employers on a job connected with the big power-house at Corbury Junction.”(Pg. 6). They seem to be immediately interested and drawn toward Ethan Frome from the first time that they see him. The way that he walked, carried himself and looked was unique and different to them. They were very surprised when they found out that Ethan was only 52 years old, and were even more surprised when Harmon, her companion, told her Ethan’s projected age. “More’n enough to kill most men. But the Fromes are tough. Ethan’ll likely touch a hundred.”(Pg. 5). Here, we learn that besides the way he looks, Ethan is tough on the inside and is likely to live a very long time. Then, when our narrator starts to be transported from place to place by Ethan, she notices that he is very anti-social. He does not talk much, and when he does, he only speaks in short increments. Rarely does he speak in a full sentence, and when he does, the narrator gets encouraged that he might start speaking more. Unfortunately, he becomes just as mute as before after his burst of talking, and rarely speaks again. Ethan was probably traumatized and broken down by the multiple deaths of the people around him, and his accident. He might have lost his desire and/or ability to speak or socialize with others, due to these horrible events getting to his head. I think that Ethan was once a boy/young man who loved to talk with others and be around others, but after multiple unfortunate events happened to him, he has now shut himself off from society.

  4. The beginning of the novel Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton begins with an unnamed narrator. The story takes place in Starkfield, Massachusetts, where the narrator had been sent by his employers on a job connected with a power-house. There, the narrator also encounters a man that strikes him. The man was exceptionally tall, described as having a “lank longitude”, and had a certain look on his face that made him seem like an old man. The narrator asks Harmon Gow about him, who says that he had looked like that since his “smash-up”. I wonder what this could be. Judging from the fact that Ethan Frome had gotten a red gash on his forehead, which had “shortened and warped his right side that it cost him a visible effort to take the few steps from his buggy to the post-office window”, it must have been some sort of horrific accident. Harmon Gow also states that the Fromes were tough, which was why Ethan survived that accident that he/she says would’ve killed most men. The narrator also learns that Ethan Frome was poor, and his family was no better. Then, he/she says, “Guess he’s been in Starkfield too many winters.” This sentence also confused me. What do they mean by too many Starkfield winters? The narrator also seems to think that these winters were the cause of Ethan Fromes lonely and isolated feel. “I simply felt that he lived in a depth of moral isolation too remote for casual access, and I had the sense that his loneliness was not merely the result of his personal plight, tragic as I guessed that to be, but had in it, as Harmon Gow had hinted, the profound accumulated cold of many Starkfield winters.” All of this knowledge about Frome is still a bit confusing and undeveloped. I hope that we can find out more about him in the next chapter to clarify who he is.

    • Questions: What does he mean by Starkfield winters, and how did they change Ethan Frome?
      What was the accident that made him like this?

    • Great response Tony! I love the quotes you used. I am guessing Starkfield winters are harsh and something must have happened to Ethan during that time. We shall wait and see!

  5. Our narrator is sent to Starkfield for his job. “I had been sent up by my employers on a job connected with the big powerhouse at Corbury Junction… I found myself anchored at Starkfield,” (pg. 6). My first impression of him is that he is very curious and observant. He seems to catch all the details on Ethan Frome from the beginning of the novel, and seems to be very determined and eager to learn more about this peculiar man. “Though Harmon Gow developed the tale as far as his mental and moral reah permitted there was perceptible gaps between his facts, and I had the sense that the deeper meaning of the story was in the gaps,” (pg. 5). Ethan Frome caught his eye when he is spotted at the post office. He is a poor and quiet man, and seems to be very popular in his town for his unusual look, and mysterious past.
    The narrator is staying at Mrs. Ned Hale’s place, and he suddenly contacted from Ethan Frome. Ethan Frome offers to give him a ride to Corbury Flats when Denis Eady (his previous ride) becomes awfully ill and unable to drive him. During the ride, we learn that Ethan Frome takes an interest in biochemistry. From this, Ethan Frome may not be the quiet man he seems to be. He has a bright personality, and although quiet, probably has a lot to say inside. When Ethan Frome accepts the book, we can see that he is interested, and not as quiet as how he is protrayed.
    To wrap up my thoughts, Ethan Frome seems to be a very important character in this novel (after all, his name is in the title), and the narrator seems to be very interested in him. I wonder if their relationship will grow stronger and deeper, to the point where we may be able to uncover more things about Ethan Frome we haven’t heard about. Will the narrator be significant in Ethan Frome’s life/growth? Will Ethan Frome be significant in the narrator’s life/growth? What is Ethan From’s past? What happened to him?

  6. The narrator whose name is unbeknownst to the readers is quite the curious man he also is clearly inquisitive and persistent, considering how determined he is to find out the truth about who Ethan Frome truly is. The narrator was sent to Starkfield on business and is staying with the widow of Ned Hale. Ethan Frome is a seemingly sullen, quiet and melancholy man. He was involved in a smash up as the narrator and their friend describe where his right side is damaged severely. Harmon Gow also tells the narrator how Ethan has nobody really and most of the Fromes left town and how Ethan spent too many winters in town. Ethan is clearly a homebody but he also seems to have quite of few layers to his character. He helps out the narrator and engages with him during the ride almost enthusiastically. He’s also interested in biochemistry, I believe there’s a lot more than people are willing to find out when it comes to Ethan Frome.

  7. The novel, Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton has begun with an unknown narrator. The story takes place in Starkfield, Massachusetts, where the narrator had been sent by his employers on a job connected with a powerhouse. The narrator first encounters Ethan Frome at the local post office. The narrator’s initial impression of him was a silent and unapproachable man with an impressive body build and posture. He notices that Ethan is disfigured, and has a scarred face, which he learned was smashed in an accident. The narrator was very curious about Ethan Frome that he began to ask some of the residents of Starkfield questions about him and his isolated existence. The narrator turns to Harmon Gow and Mrs. Ned Hale who the narrator lodges with. Harmon Gow suggests that the narrator should speak with Frome about catching a ride with him. The narrator does that, and Frome brings the narrator to and from the station each day. The narrator also leaves his biochemistry book on Ethan’s carriage, and the two men discover their shared interest in the biochemistry. I believe that this is the first of many things that they have in common and they will turn out to become friends. Finally, in the midst of a snowstorm, Narrator follows Frome to the barn to settle the horse for the evening, and the two men proceed to Ethan Frome’s house. This house is a dilapidated, and worn-out building. In the hallway entrance, Frome enters as the with a droning voice of a woman from within. The narrator is invited inside, and the woman’s voice grows still. I wonder who this woman is and whether she is or will be a major part of this novel? I hope to learn more about Ethan Frome, the narrator, and the woman in the upcoming chapters.

  8. In the book, “Ethan Frome” the narrator is a person who lived at Starkfield, a lonely town for work. The narrator becomes interested in the character of Ethan Frome, who was torn up and lame. The narrator asked Harmon Gow for some information on Ethan Frome. The narrator got fragments of a story, but then went to Mrs. Bed Hale’s mother, who suddenly became very closed off when asked a question about Ethan Frome. Harmon How talked about a big ‘Smash up’, and I was wondering what could have happened, and what did he mean by the phrase ‘Smash up’? Is that what left Ethan frome in such a horrible state? And, I was wondering, there was a brief part of the part of the book that we were reading about Ethan Frome’s wife. Will she be an important part of the plot? Also, my other question is, what did Harmon How mean when he said that Ethan Frome was portrayed as this: ” Sickness and trouble: that’s what Ethan’s had his plate full up with, ever since the first helping.” Why was Ethan’s life so miserable? These are some questions I have about this new book.

    • I liked how you talked about Ethan’s wife. The book mentions his father, mother, and wife getting sick. It also mentions all that both the Mother and Father are still alive. So it will be interesting to see if Mrs. Frome is still alive and if she is what her contributions will be.

    • This was a really great response Mia, it was very detailed and it showed that you really understood the reading. Great job keep up the good work!

  9. In the beginning of Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton we meet the narrator who tells us how he pieced together the story of Ethan Frome from personal observations and from fragments of the story told to him by townspeople. The narrator mentions how he only came to Starkfield because he “had been sent up by my employers on a job connected with the big power-house at Corbury Junction”. Later on in the passage Harmon says “Most of the smart ones get away” by saying this, it makes the reader wonder, why don’t people like Starkfield. If the smart people run away then are the other people in Starkfield dull? Also, why is Starkfield despised? Anyways, the narrator seems to be interested about Ethan Frome. My first thought about this was that it’s creepy but then I soon realized that the narrator is just trying to get comfortable with his surroundings. Before the text mentioned, “If you know Starkfield, Massachusetts, you know the post-office” which lets the reader infer that it is a small community were everyone knows each other. One day the narrator asks Ethan if he can take his ride to work and Ethan says yes. This is very nice of Ethan even though the narrator thinks of him as old, mysterious, and weird. I think if the narrator got to know Ethan more and understand his lifestyle, he will see Ethan in a different way. After all, to truly understand something, you have to put yourself in their shoes. As to why the narrator is so deeply interested in Ethan is still a wonder to me, but I think, like Jem and ms. Dubose in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, they will spend time together and learn more about each other.

  10. The beginning of “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton is a mystifying section that gives you more questions than it has answers. Our narrator is here in Starkfield, Massachusetts and has been sent here on a job connecting to the nearby power-house at Norbury Junction, “ I had been sent up by my employers on a job connected with the big power-house at Corbury Junction, and a long-drawn carpenters’ strike had so delayed the work that I found myself anchored at Starkfield” He is staying with a wealthy widow named Mrs. Ned Hale. “During my stay at Starkfield, I lodged with a middle-aged widow colloquially known as Mrs. Ned Hale.” The reason he begins his narration is to discuss another character, namely Ethan Frome. Ethan is described as a large, quiet farmer who was stuck in Starkfield taking care of his relatives until an accident occurred leaving him hindered. When he needs to take a ride with Ethan Frome to get to a train station so he can get to Corbury Junction the narrator takes it as an opportunity to try and open a dialect with Ethan and find out about his past. We learn that Ethan is interested in the magazine “Popular Science” and was actually disappointed when he realized he could no longer understand everything in the magazine. “There are things in that book that I didn’t know the first word about,” he said. I wondered less at his words than at the queer note of resentment in his voice. He was evidently surprised and slightly aggrieved at his own ignorance.“ The narrator also tried finding of Ethan from Harmon Gow who the narrator interestingly calls his informant. The information we find about Ethan makes me pity him as he lost both his health and family in this difficult town. We can trust the narrator’s judgments and conclusion about Ethan. Like a true investigator, he interviews multiple sources and puts together a solution based on that. “I had the story, bit by bit, from various people.” In examining this novel we should look at the setting. It takes place in the fictional town of Starkfield, Massachusetts. The magazine Popular Science is created in the 1880’s. Based on the use of a sleigh and trains we can narrow the time period down to between 1880 and 1930’s. We can notice that the narrator is speaking about this as a past event which is something we have seen in other novels and can help us confirm that we can trust the narrator. This introduction brought up many questions. The narrator doesn’t give us a lot of information about his or herself. Why does the narrator remain unnamed? Another question I have is why does Ethan Frome the attention of the introduction? Is there something he could teach us?

  11. Tonight we began Ethan Frome! The narrator is a man who ends up in Starkfield because he “…had been sent up by my employers on a job connected with a big power-house at Corbury Junction, and a long-drawn carpenters’ strike had so delayed the work that I found myself anchored at Starkfield…” (Pg. 6). At first he was unhappy about being in Starkfield, but then got “grim satisfaction,” (Pg. 6). The narrator stayed with Mrs. Ned Hale, who lives in one of the greatest mansions in town. The novel doesn’t say much about the narrator’s past, but it seems to me like he is from a more developed place than Starkfield, since he describes the town as “sluggish” (Pg. 7). One day the narrator notices Ethan Frome at the post office and goes on toy ask other characters about him. He learns that Frome was in an accident that he should have died from, but survived and that is why he has scars on his face. When the man who had been giving the narrator a ride’s horse gets sick, Harmon Gow recommends that he ask Frome to give him a ride. On these daily rides the narrator learns that Frome is not very educated, but has an interest in bio-chemistry. Also, he sees how Frome is quiet and keeps to himself, but is good-hearted because he offers for the narrator to stay at his house during a storm. Here the author can learn more about Frome, as he has wanted to do in the first place. My only questions about the narrator are about his past, because I think that knowing someone’s past can reveal a lot about them, as we have seen with Ethan Frome.

  12. The narrator in Ethan Frome is unknown. So far in the book, his name hasn’t been mentioned. He is currently living in Starkfield, but he is only there temporarily. He has to get to a power plant in Corbery Junction, and Starkfield seemed like a good place to stay for the winter on his way. “I had been sent up by my employers on a job connected with the big power-house at Corbury Junction, and a long-drawn carpenters’ strike had so delayed the work that I found myself anchored at Starkfield—the nearest habitable spot—for the best part of the winter,” (p. 6). His personal judgement seems reasonably trustworthy; I, as a reader, have no reason to doubt it. The problem is that he has gotten most of his information of Ethan Frome from other people who claim to know him, and they might not be reliable. The narrator recognizes this, and he even questions the reliability of his sources. “Though Harmon Gow developed the tale as far as his mental and moral reach permitted there were perceptible gaps between his facts, and I had the sense that the deeper meaning of the story was in the gaps,” (p. 5). So far, the narrator seems reliable enough if he is able to question the authenticity of his information. From other characters, the narrator learns a multitude of things about Ethan Frome. He learns that Frome has endured hardships on many occasions; caring for his father, then his mother, then his wife, not to mention the mysterious “accident” that frequently comes up. His whole life, Ethan was surrounded by injuries and illnesses. However, he hears that Fromes in general are tough. According to Harmon Gow, Ethan might reach a hundred years old (which, judging by the narrator’s reaction, was extremely unlikely at the time). The narrator also learns that Ethan is quite poor, and “the saw-mill and the arid acres of his farm yielded scarcely enough to keep his household through the winter…“ (p. 9). The narrator seems to feel pity towards Ethan Frome, as does the reader. This pity makes the narrator feel guilty and reluctant to ask Ethan for a ride to work every day.
    There have been a few symbols and interesting facts that have come up so far. For example, I noticed that Starkfield has quite an interesting name, considering it contains the word “stark”, meaning severe or bare in appearance or outline, which somewhat describes the people in this town: bare, boring, and bleak. “During the early part of my stay I had been struck by the contrast between the vitality of the climate and the deadness of the community,” (p. 6). Also, I believe that Ethan Frome’s house is synonymous with himself. His house is missing the “L”, which “ …presents of a life linked with the soil, and enclosing in itself the chief sources of warmth and nourishment…” (p. 14). Like the house, Ethan is lacking warmth and nourishment.
    1. What was the horrible accident that Ethan got himself into?
    2. Who was the other person involved in the accident?

  13. So far in the book Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, we see that the narrator has been sent to Starkfield for business purposes. There, his usual driver gets sick and So Ethan Frome decides to drive him. Nobody really knows much about Frome. The lady with whom the narrator lives with, Mrs. Ned Hale, is known to be very gossipy, but it turns out that she knows nothing about Ethan Frome. “She was not unwilling to exercise this faculty, and I had great hopes of getting from her the missing facts of Ethan Frome’s story, or rather such a key to his character as should co-ordinate the facts that I knew. Her mind was a store-house of innocuous anecdote and any question about her acquaintances brought forth a volume of detail; but on the subject of Ethan Frome I found her unexpectedly reticent.”(7) Ethan Frome sort of reminds me of Boo (Arthur) Radley. Most people did not know about him that much and judged him by the facts that they thought they knew for certain. The narrator is trying to collect facts about Frome, but like in the case of Boo Radley, those facts might be false. For example, most people in Maycomb thought that Boo would kill you on sight if you went on his property. We now know that those were just rumors. That could be the case with Ethan Frome. I am pretty sure that over time, the narrator and Ethan Frome will get closer, and more information about Frome will be revealed.

    • My two questions are;
      1. What happened to Frome and why won’t anyone tell the narrator?
      2. Why do people think that Frome is unusual? He is just an injured man. Other people have injuries, so why is his so important and mysterious?

  14. In the novel, “Ethan Frome”, by Edith Wharton, the reader has more questions than answers. In fact, the reader does not even know the name of the narrator! However, it was said that the narrator was sent to Starkfield, Massachusetts on a job to find out more about a strike in a nearby factory. “ I had been sent up by my employers on a job connected with the big power-house at Corbury Junction, and a long-drawn carpenters’ strike had so delayed the work that I found myself anchored at Starkfield.” He is currently living with Ms. Ned Hale. “During my stay at Starkfield, I lodged with a middle-aged widow colloquially known as Mrs. Ned Hale.” Other than that, not much is known about the narrator. However, he seems to be obsessed with learning about a man named Ethan Frome. He first sees Ethan at the post-office. His friend, Harmon Gow, tells him that Ethan is 52 years old, will live up to one hundred, he is lonely, he had a major accident, and his family pretty much left him. “There was something bleak and unapproachable in his face, and he was so stiffened and grizzled that I took him for an old man and was surprised to hear that he was not more than fifty-two. I had this from Harmon Gow, who had driven the stage from Bettsbridge to Starkfield in pre-trolley days and knew the chronicle of all the families on his line. ‘He’s looked that way ever since he had his smash-up; and that’s twenty-four years ago come next February,’ Harmon threw out between reminiscent pauses…’Wust kind,’ my informant assented. ‘More’n enough to kill most men. But the Fromes are tough. Ethan’ll likely touch a hundred.'” This grabs the narrator’s attention. So when Ethan asks him if he would like to go to his house, he agrees for he will get to learn more about such a mysterious man.

  15. Tonight we read the introduction portion to the novel Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. While reading we started to understand the premise of the book and got to know a lot of the characters. One of the characters that we met was the narrator although we didn’t learn his name. From what can be gathered from the writing, the narrator seems to be intelligent and a good observer. He seems to be new to the town of Starkfield but has already gotten a good sense of the town and the people in it. He is fascinated by the character of the town and the character of the people in it. Hearing how he explains the town and Ethan Frome himself makes us feel like he is someone who enjoys to analyze people and moments. So far, we don’t know a lot about the narrator himself and really much of anything about him, I’m not even sure that we know he is a man. What we do know is that he has recently moved there into the town of Starkfield but we don’t know his reason for being there. We don’t know the exact details of his job or his family life but hopefully we will soon. He could live alone, be on busy, young or old and we wouldn’t be exactly sure. As of right now, his judgement seems to be reliable because he seems fair enough to give Ethan Frome a chance to show him his real personality. The narrator doesn’t seem quick to judge so it seems to be an opinion that would be a reliable source to help us understand who Ethan Frome is. Although he has tried to find information about Frome from other people in the town, he has also tried his best to find out what he could himself and decide for himself what kind of person Ethan is. The more we know about the narrator should help us learn more about Ethan. We can learn with narrator about how Ethan lives and what he has been through. My personal first impression of the narrator was, “I like him” so I am faithful that this feeling will continue throughout the rest of the novel.

  16. In the beginning of the novel Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton a narrator is introduced. Although many facts about this narrator is a mystery there is enough evidence to make him known but by bit. The narrator is clearly living in Starkfeild Massachusetts for business reasons” I had been sent up by my employers on a job connected with the big power-house at Corbury.” Although it is unclear on the specifics it can be assumed that he is in a field under biochemistry. The traits of being curious is can also be derived from the narrator’s character. This is for the sole reason that he is so interested in a man named Ethan Form who we now know is somewhat disfigured and has a scar on his face. Through the narrators investigation he comes to find out that this scar was due to an accident that some residents refer to as his “smash-up”. The significance of this accident will most likely play a major role in the novel for chapters to come. Later on in the introduction the narrator gets a ride from Ethan himself for the narrator to go to work. Through these short trips we learn a little of Ethan’s personality too. Ethan Frome seems to be more of an isolated character who doesn’t seem to like to engage in conversation. The personalities of both the narrator and Ethan will probably develop through the next few chapters since the narrator has to stay with Ethan during the snow storm, formed while they were on their trip.

  17. So far from this first chapter we see a narrator that is unnamed. We know that this person was sent down to the town by his employers. From the narrator we learn that Ethan Frome is somewhat disfigured and has a scar on his from an accident. The reader is not told about this accident but it may play a large role in this book. Also we learn Ethan has a love interest in Mattie Silver. She is dancing with Denis and has a red scarf on. Her last name is silver and she has a red scarf which may show us she stands out. Silver is a shining metal that stands out and she has a red scarf on. In the following chapters I hope to learn why she is meant to stand out. We also learn Ethan is already mariried and Mattie is his house keeper.

    Discussion Questions:
    1) Why is the narrator so focused on Ethan? If the person is just there on business why is he concerned with him?
    2) Why do think we aren’t introduced to the narrator in the first chapter?

  18. At the beginning of Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton, we are introduced to the unnamed narrator of the story. The narrator has just been sent to the sleepy New England town of Starkfield, and his purpose there is to work for a power company on a powerhouse near the town. This is shown as he says, ““I had been sent up by my employers on a job connected with the big powerhouse at Corbury Junction… I found myself anchored at Starkfield,” (pg. 6). We then learn that this character is forced to stay at Starkfield because he has been snowed in. He is very new to the town, and is trying to figure out the past of a very mysterious man known as named Ethan Frome, whom he first encounters at the local post office. It is revealed that a somewhat traumatic event occured to Ethan Frome, as he is disfigured and seems to keep to himself. The author observes, saying there “was a red gash across Ethan Frome’s forehead, which had so shortened and warped his right side.” (pg. 4). After his ride to work is compromised, the narrator manages to go to work each day with Frome, who happens to have a healthy horse. The narrator then forgetting a biochemistry magazine one day, and it is revealed that both Ethan and the narrator have an interest in science and biochemistry. However after a snowstorm hits, both are forced to take refuge at Ethan’s farm. From the beginning, the narrator seemed very patient and observant, trying to gather as much information about Ethan Frome as possible. He also seemed to be polite to an extent, which is shown when he is talking to Frome and he offers the “slight pleasantries I ventured.” (pg. 10). Ethan Frome seems to be a very interesting character as well. While quite muddled, we get a view of him not really seen by anyone else, allowing the narrator to piece together what happened to him. Overall, I found tonight’s reading both interesting and exciting, and I look forward to see how both the narrator and Ethan Frome develop.

    Two questions I have from tonight’s reading are:

    1) Is Ethan Frome originally from Starkfield? We hear that he is different from many other characters in the book, making me question his origins?

    2) Does the narrator have any relation to Frome? It seems that they are very nice to each other, and there is no indication that they aren’t related, so is it possible that they have a connection?

    I believe these questions are good as they provide insight into both characters, and I hope they are answered tomorrow in class.

  19. The famous novel, Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton tells the story of an unnamed narrator, and their experience trying to piece together the life of Ethan Frome, and man this narrator has taken much interest in. “It was there that, several years ago, I saw him for the first time; and the sight pulled me up sharp. Even then he was the most striking figure in Starkfield, though he was but the ruin of a man.” The character of the narrator is very interesting to me. The first thing the reader notices is that this character is unnamed, we don’t even know much about their life. It seems like the narrator is more interested in the life of Ethan Frome than their own life. This mysteriousness was developed by Wharton for a reason, and I have many theories why. Do they want the drama in their life that is experienced by Ethan, are they just a very curious person, or does the plot go even deeper than what’s on the surface? Another interesting detail is that they are in Sparksfield for business, which makes things even more strange. That means he or she have just discovered Ethan, so why do they want to now know his whole story. The character keeps asking people questions about his life and experience. “‘It was a pretty bad smash-up?’ I questioned Harmon, looking after Frome’s retreating figure, and thinking how gallantly his lean brown head, with its shock of light hair, must have sat on his strong shoulders before they were bent out of shape.” The narrator is new in town, so we can’t rely on their judgement and opinions, because there is a big chance their ideas are incorrect since they don’t know the whole story. However, we already did learn a lot of information about Ethan in under twenty pages; he owns a farm, he takes care of everything including his parents, he is disfigured because of an accident, everyone in town knows him, he doesn’t talk much, and he drives a buggy. The narrator seems sort of like a stalker figure, but I think a lot of their interest sparks from just plain curiosity, but I know there is more to the story than that. The mystery of both Ethan Frome and the narrator is very intriguing, and I really want to know more!
    My questions are:
    What might be the gender of the narrator? If it was a women, I think that would unfold a whole new plot. If it is a man, that can also be very interesting. I am pretty sure it is a man, but who knows?
    What is everyone’s opinions on the other characters? They seem like they are just there to deliver messages to the narrator about Ethan Frome!

  20. After reading Chapter 1 and many other blogs about the chapter, it seems that some people believe that the narrator is Edith Wharton. From reading, I was not able to identify if it was a man or a woman. It is still unknown what the narrator’s intentions are in the town. From meeting with Ethan Frome, the narrator says “I like him”. I have a feeling this instinct will last the entire book.

    My questions are
    1. What made Ethan Frome be an outcast? Was it just his face or was it something he did that made him that way?

    2. This is quite the obvious question: but when do you think the narrotar will reveal himself or herself? Will it be an aha moment where we connect all the pieces to the book or will it be obvios and they will reveal it?

    I’m very interested in reading how this book will go on and which path it will choose to follow.

    • Good job on your article! I like when the narrator say “I like him,” and you have quite some interesting questions! I hope to discuss them during class!

  21. Before chapter one of Ethan Frome, there is a thirteen page section telling the reader the backstory. The narrator is an engineer who was sent to Starkfield by his employers to work at a power plant. While in Starkfield, the narrator meets Ethan Frome. The narrator is curious as to who Ethan Frome is, and why he is the way he is. The narrator finds out that Ethan Frome got into a sledding accident, and that is why he is so disfigured, but after the narrator hires Ethan to take him to work, he sees a different side of Ethan. Ethan and the narrator didn’t talk much before Ethan started taking the narrator to work, and the narrator had to learn about Ethan from the townspeople. But learning more from the townspeople only furthered his interest in Ethan Frome. The townspeople were answering him, but all it did was leave the narrator with more questions.
    Now that Ethan is taking him to work, the narrator gets to talk with Ethan himself. The narrator soon finds out that Ethan is a quiet man, and they don’t talk much at first. But eventually, they do start to talk to each other, but it is certainty not what we would call a conversation. It was more like two men saying two words to each other, and then leaving the other one alone for the rest of the day. But, Ethan did worm up a bit more, and started actually talking to the narrator, Ethan started to talk a lot about his past life, and the narrator got exactly what his nosy mind wanted. He started to find out who, Ethan Frome is

    What he found was quiet interesting. As far as the narrator, and the reader had known before, was that Ethan had gotten into an accident, he had stayed in Starkstown from then o,n he had taken care of his family, and that he was a quiet man. But the narrator soon sees that Ethan Frome wasn’t as different from other people as he seemed. He was a quiet, drawn back man, but he still had interests, and still did what other people did. This was shown specifically when thee narrator brought one of his books to read on the long quiet journey to work, and he accidentally left it with Ethan. Ethan apparently used to be interested in this kind of thing, and the narrator said that Ethan could borrow the book.

    I have a feeling that Ethan is soon to become a very intersting character, and like many other books, he at first is misunderstood, but then ends up being the most complicated, yet easiest person to understand, if you look at it correctly.

    • Reading through my blog, I realize that it may not make much sense, there is a lot of rambling. I hope you guys understand what I was trying to get at.

  22. The beginning of this book is similar to our previous books. We have a narrator who tells us where everything is, emphasizes one particular aspect of the scene, and then goes into dialogue. With Pip, we had him mature as an adult. In To Kill A Mockingbird, there’s Scout and her young innocence in the way she speaks. In this book, there is a type of relaxed and slow approach to the start. The way all three of them talk is similar. They politely and try not to over complicate anything. On the contrary, we have a much slower start with learning about one person and trying to understand why he’s so important. In Great Expectations, we start off quickly with a scene that catches our interest where Pip is being ordered to steal food. Perhaps this may change and the pace will quicken over the span of the book, or maybe it stays slow. Either way, I’m interested in learning how it goes!

  23. As we read the first few pages of Ethan Frome, we learn quite a bit about our narrator. First, it is thought by some of my fellow classmates that the narrator is supposedly Edith Wharton, the author, but there really is not much proof of her being the narrator, so for now the narrator is unknown. The narrator we learn has gone to Starkfield, Massachusetts “… on a job connected with the big power-house at Corbury Junction.”(p. 6) Apparently the narrator’s work was delayed due to a carpenters’ strike, keeping him in Starkfield.
    It is reasonable to say that we cannot rely on this narrator’s judgement, as the narrator’s perspective of Ethan Frome is made partly by the bits and pieces of the stories given by various informants, which are most likely different in many ways, making some statements unsure. Asking one of the narrator’s informants Harmon Gow, the narrator learns that Ethan Frome was surprisingly only fifty-two years old, and that his “bleak” and “unapproachable” face was made that way from his “smash-up.”(p. 3) The narrator also finds out that he was interested in science when he read the book the narrator had given to him. This knowledge makes both us readers and the narrator more interested about Ethan Frome, such as how did he get his smash-up. Ethan Frome turns out surprisingly intriguing.

    These are two discussion questions that I want to know and discuss about:

    – How did Ethan Frome get his smash-up?

    – What clue to Ethan Frome did the narrator find?

  24. Our Narrator in Ethan Frome is a company man who travels to do his work. When he says “I had been sent up by my employers on a job connected with the big power-house at Corbury Junction, and a long-drawn carpenters’ strike had so delayed the work that I found myself anchored at Starkfield—the nearest habitable spot—for the best part of the winter.” (Pg. 6) This means his job most likely has to do with carpentry. Maybe his job could do something to like land surveying or construction. When we look at his judgement, at least in the beginning, we should look at him as an outsider who knows very little about ethan frome but is attempting to gather information. I think that eventually the narrator would be a fair source of judgement. From the the other characters, we learn that Frome has been through alot in his life, enough to kill an average man. Harmon Gow however, states, “Wust kind… More’n enough to kill most men. But the Fromes are tough. Ethan’ll likely touch a hundred.” This knowledge surprises both the reader and the narrator. Ethan, who has been through enough in his life to kill a man is still providing for his family. This also tells you about the type of person that Ethan is, that he is kind caring and although is no longer physically strong is still mentally strong.

  25. Our narrator is curious and insightful man, who “had been sent up by my employers on a job connected with the big power-house at Corbury Junction, and a long-drawn carpenters’ strike had so delayed the work that I found myself anchored at Starkfield—the nearest habitable spot—for the best part of the winter.” (pg 6) He asks the people of the town many questions about Ethan Frome, who is visibly disfigured and has a limp. By asking Harmon Gow, the narrator learns small bits of information about Frome, but not a complete story. This changes, however, when the narrator gets a ride with the strange man himself. His original ride was with Denis Eady, but his horse fell sick and was no longer able to take him to Corbury Flats every day, where he caught his train to the Junction. On the first couple of rides with Frome, there was barely any conversation and very little interaction overall between them. The narrator saw that Ethan was very like the bleak and desolate landscape around them, but he showed a slight interest when the narrator mentioned an engineering job he had in Florida. Perhaps he has a background in science, or even engineering specifically. Some days later, the narrator left a bio-chemistry book in Frome’s cart, and when Frome gave it to him, he displayed a further interest in the subject. “‘There are things in that book that I didn’t know the first word about,’ he said. I wondered less at his words than at the queer note of resentment in his voice. He was evidently surprised and slightly aggrieved at his own ignorance. ‘Does that sort of thing interest you?’ I asked. ‘It used to.’” (pg 11) This shows us that Ethan has a certain distaste for being ignorant of something, which seems to be reflected in the narrator’s personality as well. He keeps asking questions and is trying to find out as much as he can about this strange man that he met only a few days before. By finding out more of the narrator, we will most likely find out more of Ethan Frome, seeing as the narrator is so inquisitive and observant. Their particular interest in Frome may lead us to learn more information about him, especially about the gaps between other people’s stories.

  26. The very beginning of Ethan Frome is an interesting and mysterious one, in its own way. The setting is very clearly portrayed as a bleak, stark, and rural area in Massachusetts. It is winter, and a narrator, who is given no formal introduction begins describing the events. He says he was hired as a carpenter and had to move here to compensate for the recent strikes occurring. He first writes these words:”I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story. “(p3). This makes it appear as if he was piecing together some kind of story, and all he had was the different stories of different people. This could be foreshadowing to a significant event that somehow involves everyone. For some reason or another, the narrator takes up the responsibility to find out what happened and get to the bottom of this. My question is: What could have happened to involve everyone?

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