The village lay under two feet of snow….

Please pursue your own ideas and theories about the beginning and Chapters 1 and 2 of Ethan Frome here.  Be sure to include many specific text-based details in your commentary.  Be sure also to reply to your classmates as the discussion evolves over the course of the evening.

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 conversations.

Ethan Frome blog #2

41 thoughts on “The village lay under two feet of snow….

  1. Ethan Frome seems to lead a troubled love life, as his wife is Zeena, but he likes Mattie Silver. Zeena is not especially happy about the situation, since Ethan has changed the way he acts ever since Mattie arrived at their house. For instance, he started to shave. “It was a fact that since Mattie Silver’s coming he had taken to shaving every day”(pp. 25). This shows that he wants to impress Mattie. He leaves his wife at night to pick Mattie up, and he’d always assumed that his wife was asleep and did not notice his change in appearance. However, his wife did in fact know, and was upset. She caught him once, and put on a queer look. His wife purposely did not leave the keys on the table, so that they could not get in, at the end of chapter two. She seemed to be really disappointed, but not angry. Ethan is trapped in a love life where he adores another girl, but cannot love her because he already has a wife.

    Will Zeena ever come out and say that she does not like Ethan’s love for Mattie?
    How will Zeena and Ethan solve their problems?

  2. In tonight’s reading of Ethan Frome, we get a glimpse of the more personal side of Ethan. The narrator from the prologue seems to have disappeared, and the story now focuses solely on Ethan. It is revealed to the reader that Ethan, who is married, is housing his wife’s cousin. He likes her very much, and we can see that his wife is less than pleasant. Ethan takes a particular interest to her cousin, named Mattie Silver, and after a short time begins to fall in love with her. This is shown as Ethan reveals that, “when his wife first proposed that they should give Mattie an occasional evening out he had inwardly demurred at having to do the extra two miles to the village and back after his hard day on the farm… he had reached the point of wishing that Starkfield might give all its nights to revelry”. (pg. 21). It becomes clear that Ethan is trapped between the two women, Mattie and his wife. While he is completely entranced by Mattie, his wife realizes that she has changed him. This is illustrated as he often helps Mattie out with his chores or makes himself look nice for her, as stated when he, “even crept down on Saturday nights to scrub the kitchen floor after the women had gone to bed; and Zeena, one day, had surprised him at the churn and had turned away silently, with one of her queer looks.” (pg. 23). I believe it is interesting that Ethan would take an interest in a young girl with a relation to him. I wonder how the story will proceed now that Ethan has a firmly established love for Mattie and his wife suspects him to be up to something.
    Two questions I have after reading tonight are:
    WIll Ethan’s wife act upon her suspicion of Ethan, and how will that play out? I believe there is a good chance that Mattie may be involved in the confrontation, and if that happens will Ethan run to defend her against his wife?
    How does this relate back to the narrator? The story quickly jumped away from them and straight to Ethan. Is this from Ethan’s past, possibly leading to the state we see him in in the prologue?
    I think these questions could really help to clear up some confusing points in the plot, and hope to touch upon them tomorrow in class.

  3. As a young man, Ethan Frome seems conflicted in his mind. Somehow, he has ended up married to a woman that he does not love the most, and instead he is in love with a woman who is poor and does not have many skills. Ethan possibly only married Zeena instead of Mattie due to Mattie being poor and unskilled, and that Mattie would not be the best mother. Ethan felt bad for Mattie, and because he loved her, he conviced Zeena to allow Mattie to live with them. In the beginning, Zeena does not see many problems with this, but after she realizes that Ethan is shaving and making himself look better for when he has to pick Mattie up. “It was a fact that since Mattie Silver’s coming he had taken to shaving every day.”(Pg. 25).
    Zeena is visibly upset because of this, but does not seem angry, instead dissappointed and sad. Ethan is stuck in a very awkward and difficult situation, and it will be interesting to see how he will deal with his feelings and emotions toward these two women in his life.

  4. In this chapter more of Ethan’s troubles. His biggest trouble is his relationship with his wife Zeena. Zeena is brittle, sickly, bland and orderly. She cannot support herself or do anything for herself for that matter. She can clean or take care of the house. She said needs Ethan to help her for most things. This relationship is clearly not emotionally fulfilling for Ethan and it seems as though he wants more from his life. So when Mattie Silver Clem’s around he cannot help but fall for her and I presume it’s to fill the emptiness in his life. He begins to shave his face in an attempt to impress her. When Zeena suggests Mattie get married off to the Denis Eady, Ethan hopes to continue to have her around. It seems Zeena has caught on and is quite jealous seeing as how she didn’t let the two in. It seems that Zeena does love Ethan.
    Dq: What do you think Ethan will do about his unrequited love for Mattie?
    Dq: How would Zeena react? How this effect the story?

    • I like how you made a short and concise summary of all that happened within those two chapters. You provide adequate evidence to support your well-developed judgments.

  5. Chapters 1 and 2 of Ethan Frome take a more personal approach to Ethan Frome’s life. We got to see the problems he faces with his current marriage and love life. Ethan had been already married to the woman named Zeena, but is now showing feelings towards her cousin Mattie Silver. He feels “light and happy” whenever he is around Mattie, and hopes she feels the same way. Previously, Zeena had never cared about Mattie regarding jealousy. However, now, she was becoming more and more grouchy. “His wife had never shown any jealousy of Mattie, but of late she had grumbled increasingly over the house-work and found oblique ways of attracting attention to the girl’s inefficiency. “ Ethan’s wife was also slowly noticing small details Ethan thought she would not notice. For example, Ethan’s newfound habit of shaving every morning to look better for Mattie. It seems like Ethan is stuck in a precarious situation. Additionally, one night when Ethan was picking up Mattie from town, he saw her dancing with Denis Eady, and things that he thought were special between them were not. “He even noticed two or three gestures which, in his fatuity, he had thought she kept for him.. The sight made him unhappy, and his unhappiness roused his latent fear.” Ethan is also too afraid to reveal his true emotions, and has resorted to analyzing every detail of their exchanges to find out if she likes him back. He thinks that Mattie currently has no interest in him. I wonder what will happen between Ethan and Mattie in the future. Even if Mattie loves him back eventually, what will happen to Zeena? Maybe Ethan will divorce her? I hope we will find out more in the next chapters.

    Questions: If Mattie falls for Ethan, what will happen to Zeena?
    Will Zeena ever do anything to get rid of Mattie out of jealously?

  6. In the novel, “Ethan Frome”, by Edith Wharton, the reader learns more about Ethan Frome. The narrator is not mentioned in the chapters. In the beginning of chapter one, Ethan uses a physics term known as an exhausted receiver. This means that air that was once received is now released or let out creating a vacuum. Earlier, Ethan Frome went to college and took a course on physics for one year and can still recall some things that he learned now and then. However, Ethan had to discontinue college because his father died. This shows that if Ethan had finished college properly, he could have been much more than he is right now. The reader learns about two women who are important to Ethan. One of them is his wife, Zeena and the other is Mattie Silver, the person Ethan is in love with. She is Zeena’s cousin and currently the housekeeper. However, this doesn’t stop Ethan. He, “even crept down on Saturday nights to scrub the kitchen floor after the women had gone to bed; and Zeena, one day, had surprised him at the churn and had turned away silently, with one of her queer looks.” (pg. 23). This shows that clearly, that Zeena might be suspicious of Ethan’s feelings. In fact, he is jealous when Denis dances with Mattie Silver in the dance. She has changed Ethan. The narrator believes that she makes Ethan happier as well.

    Two questions I have are:

    What will Zeena do to Mattie Silver?

    How did the narrator know that Ethan could barely see Mattie Silver if he is just watching him?

  7. The first two chapters of Ethan Frome really focuses on his relationship with his wife, and the women he loves, Mattie. It all starts when Ethan and his wife house Mattie. It is very clear that Frome is in love with Mattie even though he is married to Zeena. “Mattie Silver had lived under his roof for a year, and from early morning till they met at supper he had frequent chances of seeing her; but no moments in her company were comparable to those when, her arm in his, and her light step flying to keep time with his long stride, they walked back through the night to the farm,” (pg 21).
    Ethan never realized that Zeena was aware that he was changing for Mattie (“It was a fact that since Mattie Silver’s coming he had taken to shaving every day,” (pg 25)) and how he loves her greatly. Zeena is sick and is in need of care, however, Ethan Frome leaves her at night to pick up Mattie Silver. Zeena purposely did not leave the keys, because she knew that Ethan was out with Mattie. Ethan however, thought the Zeena was unaware and fast asleep.
    Is Mattie in love with Ethan Frome too? Matte certainly likes Ethan Frome’s company. The text states, “‘Unless you want me to go too—’” (page 31). Mattie knows that Frome loves her, and in the text stated, she clearly is begging Ethan to give her a reason to stay at the home. To persuade Zeena to let her stay. Mattie wants to be with Frome. However, on the other hand, she seems to have lots of fun with Denis Eady. In fact, Zeena says that Mattie will soon leave their home to marry Denis.
    What is Ethan’s past with Zeena? What is the reason for their marriage (if he loves Mattie)?
    Is Mattie in love with Ethan? Or is Mattie in love with Denis?

  8. In chapters 1-2 of Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton, the story shifts to the personal life of Ethan Frome. In these chapters, the emphasis of the narrator was put to the Ethan instead. Some new characters are introduced in these chapters such as Denis Eady, Ethan’s wife Zeena, and her cousin, Mattie. Mattie has been living with the Fromes as a housekeeper for over a year. As a result, Ethan starts having feelings towards Mattie after being relatively close to her for an extended period of time. Ethan affection towards Mattie is shown by Ethan’s effort to impress her, such as shaving. Ethan is clearly in the midst of a dilemma because he is between two women, and will most likely have to choose one. Ethan even picked up Mattie at a dance, while she rejects a ride from Denis. This is interesting because Denis is portrayed as a young and handsome man that Zenna said Mattie could marry. Will Mattie and Denis become married or build a romantic relationship? How would Ethan feel about this? I wonder if Ethan will get divorced or split up from Zeena, and become married or in a relationship with Mattie. Mattie seems to be Ethan’s soul-mate, while Zeena simply isn’t. I hope to learn more about these characters and learn more about Ethan and how loyal he really is to his wife.

  9. After reading chapters 1 and 2 we get a glimpse into the personal side of Ethan Frome. He is married to Zeena who is very observative but, also sick. As a result of Zeena’s sickness, she asks for her cousin Mattie Silver to help maintain the household. Ethan, unfortunately, begins to fall in love with Mathie, which Zeena obviously doesn’t like. “When his wife first proposed that they should give Mattie an occasional evening out he had inwardly demurred at having to do the extra two miles to the village and back after his hard day on the farm; but not long afterward he had reached the point of wishing that Starkfield might give all its nights to revelry.” The second chapter mainly focuses on one instance where Mattie goes out of town and Ethan goes also to walk back with her. They do this twice a week then but this chapter focuses on a specific visit where we can observe how Ethan feels toward her. These two chapters are apparently set in the past and our mysterious narrator disappeared. As his wife notices changes in Ethan based on Mattie, the second chapter slowly builds to a climax where Zeena doesn’t leave out a key for Mattie and Ethan to return to the house. “She slipped out of his hold without speaking, and he stooped down and felt for the key. “It’s not there!” he said, straightening himself with a start. They strained their eyes at each other through the icy darkness. Such a thing had never happened before. “Maybe she’s forgotten it,” Mattie said in a tremulous whisper; but both of them knew that it was not like Zeena to forget.“ What are Zeena and Ethan going to do about Maddie? How is Ethan going to make this up with Zeena?

  10. In chapters 1-2 of Ethan Frome, we see Frome’s relationship with his wife and a young lady named Mattie Silver. Ethan Frome’s wife Zeena doesn’t seem to love him much. They don’t have a loving and caring relationship like most couples do. I have two ideas on that. One is that their parents might have been close and they decided that their kids should marry and not take no for an answer. Another is that Frome and Zeena might have been closer when they were younger, but over time, as Zeena’s sickness increased, they started growing further apart. That is opposite with Frome and Mattie. He seems to really care for her and likes her as more than a friend. But Mattie doesn’t visibly have feelings for him. Even if she does, she hides them a lot better than Ethan. Frome seems really obvious about his feelings for her. “‘ You’d have found me right off if you hadn’t gone back to have that last reel with Denis,’ he brought out awkwardly. He could not pronounce the name without a stiffening of the muscles of his throat.”(30) I wonder if Mattie feels the same way towards Frome as he does towards her. If so, would she dare tell him with Zeena around? Also, why did Ethan take Zeena as his wife if he didn’t love her? It might be because of the two reasons I listed before, but it might be something different, too. Maybe Frome did something that Zeena now hated him for, and that’s why their relationship is so shaky. I hope we will find out more as the book goes on.

  11. In chapters 1 and two of Ethan Frome we learn some things about Ethan. We learn that he likes Mattie Silver. “The fact that admiration for his learning mingled with Mattie’s wonder at what he taught was not the least part of his pleasure. (pg.22)” Ethan has a connection with Mattie and feels he can talk to her about his interests in nature. He also gets jealous when Mattie dances with Denis. “You’d have found me right off if you hadn’t gone back to have that last reel with Denis,(pg.30)” He was waiting for her and saw her go back and dance with Denis. We see Ethans resentment toward Denis. Another thing we learn is how Ethan is clearly not happy with his marriage to Zeena. “Zeena herself, from an oppressive reality, had faded into an insubstantial shade.(pg. 25)” Ethan doesn’t really even seem to feel Zeena’s presence. She is just there. One more thing we learn is that Ethan feels he will never get out of his boring life in Sparkfield. ‘“We never got away—how should you?” seemed to be written on every headstone;(pg.32)” Ethan feels like he will just die in Sparkfield with his boring life. Mattie is his only thing giving him joy in his life. She is like a candle in his dark room of a life. Her last name is Silver because she is the only shining thing in his life.
    Do you think Ethan will divorce Zeena?
    Is Zeena just being nice the Ethan because he is letting her live at his house?

    • I really like your comment, Abby. I didn’t notice how Ethan is also unhappy with he fact that he feels stuck in Starkfield. To answer your questions, I do not think that Ethan would divorce his wife, because she is always ill, she probably wouldn’t let him, and Ethan seems too kind-hearted to just leave her. And I honestly think that Zeena wasn’t being nice to Ethan at all.

    • I think Ethan does still love Zeena, and he might enjoy the dynamic of Mattie being almost like just another love interest. However, Zeena probably will find out. If someone is going to end the relationship, it would be Zeena.

      • Great job! I think that he won’t diverse her until later on in the book once he notices that he doesn’t feel as happy as he should with Zeena. I also believe that Zeena loves Ethan even though her doesn’t feel the same. She might try and stop Mattie from falling in love with Ethan but I don’t think she will succeed. I am excited to read more in the future and learn what the answer to your questions are

  12. Chapters 1 and 2 have provided the reader a little bit of Ethan’s life story. According to the chapters, Ethan goes to pick up his wife’s cousin from a party going on in the church, so she can aid her. “Frome was in the habit of walking into Starkfield to fetch home his wife’s cousin, Mattie Silver, on the rare evenings when some chance of amusement drew her to the village.” (pp. 20) It seemed that whenever Ethan and Mattie were together, they would have a romantic, and casual relationship. They were almost made for each other. “It was during their night walks back to the farm that he felt most intensely the sweetness of this communion.” (pp. 21) But it seems to me that Ethan’s wife has picked up on the connection that Ethan has with Mattie. She said that he was beginning to shave every morning. “It was a fact that since Mattie Silver’s coming he had taken to shaving everyday.” (pp. 25) In chapter 2, when Ethan and Mattie arrive at the house, Zeena is awake. I predict that she stayed up to prevent Ethan and Mattie from getting very intimate with each other. She is being protective over her husband. “She continued to stare at him, the flame of the unshaded lamp bringing out with microscopic cruelty the fretful lines on her face.” (pp. 35) With the girl he loves (Mattie) taking an interest with another man (Denis Eady) and his wife, not only being sick, but is always coming in between him and Mattie, Ethan is dealing with a lot of heartbreak, and loss. I predict that these two chapters introduce just some of of the issues that will eat away at him.

  13. In chapters 1 and 2 of Ethan Frome, the reader is shown a whole new view of Ethan, now that the book is in third person point of view limited to Ethan’s perspective. Despite how he seemed in the prologue, he seems quite enjoyable. However, for a majority of the chapters, he was either thinking of or with Mattie, which would obviously make him happy. We don’t really get a sense of what he is like to other people. So far, though, nothing much has happened. Yes, new characters are introduced, but that’s about it. Other than that, there are only Ethan’s feelings toward Mattie. Speaking of Mattie, let’s talk about her for a little while. Mattie seems to have an extroverted personality. She is very energetic and happy, but her mood can fluctuate easily. She doesn’t seem like one to get mad, though. She seems more like the kind of person who, at her worst, gets a little upset or worried. Ethan instantly feels like he can relate to her. For example, they both have similar interests in the beauty of nature, which Ethan never felt like he could talk about with anyone. It is things like these that lead Ethan to develop a fondness for her, despite the fact that he has a wife, Zeena. Now, in high contrast to Mattie, Zeena seems like an ordinary person. Ethan doesn’t really show anything that point towards him having a high interest in his wife. In fact, he is trying to hide from his wife the fact that he really likes Mattie. Although Zeena hasn’t figured that out yet, she is starting to get suspicious of Ethan, noting that ever since Mattie’s arrival he has been shaving every morning, consequently leading to him frequently getting late. Zeena also frequently tries to find opportunities to criticize Mattie, who is doing housework for them.

    Also, I have a suspicion that this part of the book takes place before the prologue that we read yesterday. I might be wrong, but it seems like a valid inference. So far, Ethan seems like a much more expressive person than he was depicted in the prologue (though, that isn’t saying much). Therefore, it would make sense that Ethan’s tragic “accident” has yet to come.

    1. Is it a possibility that (if this takes place before the prologue) Mattie was the other person involved in the accident? It would make sense, then, that Ethan has buried his emotions.
    2. How does the narrator from the prologue fit into the story? He must come back later, right? And, assuming he does, will he play a major role in the book?

  14. I have MANY theories about Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. I am very happy about this blog question because one of my favorite things to do in the beginning of an intense book is to create a lot of theories regarding the characters we have met thus far. Absolutely anything can happen through a book, and sometimes the theories are right. In chapter 1, the narrator seems to have disappeared, making me wonder if we’ll ever meet meet the person again. I predict we most likely will and that they will be a very important character in the story. Maybe Wharton introduced the narrator as a quick outside perspective on a character we will meet later in the novel. Maybe we won’t know that this specific character was the narrator in the first place. (Kind of off topic but all of this mystery and thinking is really giving me Agatha Christie And Then There Were None vibes. What a page turner). Anyway, chapter 1 gives us more insight on Ethan Fromes story. We learn about how he had to stop school when his father died, and his complicated relationship with his wife Zeena, and his fondness of her cousin Mattie Silvers. “All his life was lived in the sight and sound of Mattie Silver, and he could no longer conceive of its being otherwise. But now, as he stood outside the church, and saw Mattie spinning down the floor with Denis Eady, a throng of disregarded hints and menaces wove their cloud about his brain….” I feel so empathetic towards Ethan, he is having a difficult time seeing another man with a girl he loves. It is also a pretty awkward situation because Mattie is Zeena’s cousin. I have a theory that maybe on the outside, people see Ethan as a really interesting, yet quiet guy, but in reality he has had struggles all his life. Chapter 2 tells of a scene between Mattie and Ethan. He is being quite shy, so she tries to get him to be more jolly and merry. Ethan clearly cannot help his feelings for her, and many other people can also see that. “He slipped an arm through hers, as Eady had done, and fancied it was faintly pressed against her side, but neither of them moved. It was so dark under the spruces that he could barely see the shape of her head beside his shoulder. He longed to stoop his cheek and rub it against her scarf. He would have liked to stand there with her all night in the blackness. She moved forward a step or two and then paused again above the dip of the Corbury road. Its icy slope, scored by innumerable runners, looked like a mirror scratched by travellers at an inn.” Ethan and Mattie are very different, but they seem to click instantly. I definitely predict a relationship with them.
    My questions are:
    How do you think Zeena will react to Mattie and Ethan? I feel like she has definitely picked up on his feeling a little bit, like when she gave Ethan a weird look when she was churning butter.
    Why is Ethan so shy? He has gone through a lot, but I feel like he is insecure and we might find out why in future chapters.

    • I completely agree with all of your ideas! I just finished Agathat Christie And Then there were none just a few weeks ago. I wonder how Mattie’s and Ethan’s relationship will progress throughout the book.

  15. In chapters 1 and 2 of Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton, we get to learn more about Ethan and essentially his life. Ethan has a wife by the name of Zeena who has a cousin by the name of Mattie SIlver. Throughout tonights chapters of reading, the text stated words that were related to flirting such as, “Frome’s heart was beating fast”, in which allows the reader to assume that he is in love with Mattie. With this comes many new theories. One theory that came up was that Zeena saw how Ethan was falling in love with Mattie and so she made Denis Eady, a new character who dances with Mattie, fall in love with Mattie. Then Zeena claimed that she was getting worse and more sick for attention from Ethan. It seems like she went through this whole plan just to get some attention from her husband. Is that so wrong? All the poor lady ever wanted was for her husband to love her and be with her. Arguably, one could say that she is wrong and if she has to go through all this trouble to get a man who is in love with someone else to fall in love with her. Also, what is is about Ethan that she is so attracted to? Anyways, I wonder if this theory is true and if so what else is she going to do to insure that Ethan doesn’t see Mattie again.

    • Oh my goodness I didn’t even think of this! But did Mattie come before Zeena got sick or after because that would change it a lot?

  16. In tonight’s reading I was most interested in Zeena and Mattie. Zeena is Ethan Frome’s wife, and Mattie is Zeena’s cousin. I saw some similarities and differences in Zeena and Mattie. First of all they are both very straightforward with Ethan Frome. The differences come between them in what they are straightforward about. Zeena always seems to have an undertone with Frome that she is mad or that she knows something. “I guess you’re always late, now you shave every morning,” (Pg. 25). Rather than trying to talk to Ethan calmly she went right at him saying that he has been acting different since Mattie came. Mattie one the other hand tells Ethan how she is feeling and what she wants to know, she doesn’t have an undertone of any sort, she just says what she means. “You’d ought to tell me Ethan Frome- you’d ought to! Unless you want me to go too-,” (Pg. 31). Although Zeena and Mattie are similar in the sense that they are very straightforward, they are more different than they are alike. Zeena seems as if she is always out to hurt Ethan Frome- pointing out how Mattie will probably marry Denis Eady and trying to lock him outside. Mattie shows affection towards Ethan Frome, and stays loyal to him even though they aren’t in a relationship- she didn’t go with Eady when he offered her a ride home even though it was a dangerous walk. This is why I think Ethan Frome admires Mattie more than Zeena. At the moment I can’t decide who I like more, Mattie or Zeena. I love how Zeena is trying to show Ethan that she is his wife and he shouldn’t be admiring her cousin, but at the same time I love how Mattie told Dennis Eady that she wasn’t going to take the ride from him; by just saying “Good-bye! Hope you’ll have a lovely ride!” (Pg. 28). She is being so sweet but still rejecting a guy at the same time! I’ll have to keep thinking about who I like more for sure!

  17. In the novel “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton chapters 1 and 2 gave us a look into the life of Ethan Frome and what he went through. In his young life, Ethan felt very confused because he was married to Zeena, a woman with money that was sickly, but was in love with Mattie Silver, a woman who was poor but vibrant. He found himself looking forward to seeing Mattie and wanting to be around her. When she was near, his face lit up and vice versa. He wanted to be loyal to Zeena and didn’t want to make her jealous but the way he felt about Mattie was noticeable and the truth. For awhile, Ethan had thought that Zeena hadn’t been the type to get jealous but he was wrong. Zeeno most definitely became jealous, she just didn’t directly confront him about it. Instead, she decided to vaguely drop hints and phrases that would hurt him. She mentioned how that soon, Mattie Silver would have to leave them and someone knew would come along, he got offended, wondering we Mattie would leave and defending her honor. So called “innocently” Zeena responded with how Mattie would need to be married and to have the opportunity to start her own family and that staying there with them would not make a marriage and family a possibility. This hurt Ethan but made him think. He realized that Mattie was of age and an eligible woman that would need to be married but he had loved her so much that seeing her with anyone and especially someone like Dennis Eady, broke his heart. Zeena and Ethan don’t have a very healthy relationship because she wouldn’t come out and confront him with her problem in order to solve it. She would only make hints and hope that he either got the point or was forced to stop being around Mattie anyway. This relationship most likely has something to do with why Ethan is the way that he is the beginning of the novel which seems to be more written about present day. The way that they act around each other may have caused problems and lead to resentment and hate between their marriage, causing Ethan Frome to be the mystery that he is.

  18. After reading chapters 1 and 2, we were in the eyes of the narrator and then we were in the eyes of Ethan Frome. I’m assuming that when the narrator narrates, we are in present day. And when we are brought back to Ethan’s perspective, we are going years back when the “problem” started. Ethan Frome is married to Zeena, she is wealthy; however she is very resentful and jealous. In this case, Zeena, reminded me of the evil witch in every Disney movie. She is the one always trying to win, and then there’s the real princess, she is Mattie Silver. Poor, yet kind and caring. In the past chapter, it is clearly obvious that Ethan has strong feelings for Mattie and feels happy and joyful around her However, Ethan is still married and must stay loyal to his spouse; therefore, he doesn’t make any gesture towards Mattie that could prove otherwise.

    Ethan thought that his wife was the one to not be jealous. However, he was very wrong. She constantly said snarky comments and made sure that Ethan always knew that Mattie would be married to Dennis Eady.

    I wonder what will happen with their relationships and marriages.. (Ethan and Zeena, Mattie and Dennis).
    Is Ethan talking with Mattie the cause of Ethan being an outcast in his own town? Is Zeena the reason why Ethan’s face is deformed?

    • Anjali, I love the comparison of Zeena and a classic villain, seeing as she really does portray that sort of demeanor, especially towards Mattie and Frome. I also like your discussion questions, because I too wonder what will happen between the two “couples.” Great response!

  19. The book changes and now shows Ethan Frome’s view instead of the previous narrator (Wonder if we’ll see him again). Ethan is in a situation that is interesting and actually funny in my opinion. Ethan has a wife, Mrs. Zeena. However, he is not necessarily devoted to her, as we learn that he also develops feelings for his wife’s cousin, Mattie Silver! Definitely a difficult situation to be in, especially when your own wife knows about it. I find it interesting that his wife now has the job of reminding him who he is supposed to love and be attracted to, which is also comical. I’m warming up to this book slowly but surely, and I hope that there are more events that keep me interested.

  20. During chapters 1 and 2, I found many interesting insights into Ethan Frome. One insight that particularly stood out to me was this part of chapter 2, “I told you I ain’t the kind to be afraid she tossed back, almost indifferently; and suddenly she began to walk on with a rapid step.These alterations of mood were the despair and joy of Ethan Frome. The motions of her mind were as incalculable as the flit of a bird in the branches. The fact that he had no right to show his feelings, and thus provoke the expression of hers, made him attach a fantastic importance to every change in her look and tone.” This statement, at first glance, shows the profound and deep love that Ethan has for Mattie. The fact that he sees it as fantastically important each time her mood changes shows that his love is much deeper than some onlooking stranger. This statement also shows that Ethan is very devoted to his wife and that he does not flirt or show his feelings to Mattie, even though he would very much like to flirt and play with her, to make him love her. In this conversation, “Guess you forgot about us, Zeena,” Ethan joked, stamping the snow from his boots. “No. I just felt so mean I couldn’t sleep.”, Ethan’s wife suspects him of having a relationship with Mattie. Zeena thinks that Ethan is being untrue, yet even though he seems to love Mattie, he still keeps respectfully away from flirting and showing outward emotion. This also provides us with the strength of the relationship between Zeena and Ethan, that they seem to be going through a rough patch. This would explain some of the heavy emotional strain that is put on Ethan over time.

  21. In the reading of chapters one and two we are introduced to the personal life of Ethan Frome. with these chapters two new characters are introduced. Zeena and Mattie Silver. Zeena is Ethan’s Wife while Mattie is the cousin of Zeena who is staying with Zeena and Ethan. Almost immediately we get a seance if a new tension rising when Ethan starts to make an interest in Mattie a little too much. We can see this through small unnoticeable acts that he has started. These habits were most probably created to win the attention of Mattie, even though he is married.” It was a fact that since Mattie Silver’s coming he had taken to shaving every day”(pp. 25). Ethan might have thought he was doing this discreetly, but Zeena clearly caught on to his actions “and Zeena, one day, had surprised him at the churn and had turned away silently, with one of her queer looks.” (pg. 23). Zeena may be a little jealous of Mattie by now. She’s getting all the attention of Zeena’s husband after all. Overall however Ethan is stuck in a love triangle which will most likely cause problems for him in chapters to come.

    A Question I a have is what will Zeena do about Mattie?

  22. Chapters 1 and 2 of Ethan Frome were quiet but interesting. We see that the town of Starkfield is pretty consistent in terms of weather, being covered in snow the majority of the time. I wonder if snow will have to do with anything later on in the novel, especially because the text keeps mentioning how bleak and dim everything is. On another note, we see that the perspective has switched to that of Ethan himself, so we get even better insight as to what he’s like. We see him looking through the window as Mattie, their new helper around the house and Ethan’s wife’s cousin, is dancing with the same Denis Eady who was supposed to give the narrator a ride in the last chapter. As he is watching them, he thinks back to first meeting Mattie Silver, and how joyous and kind she was. He obviously has feelings towards her, as he goes on about how he feels much happier when he’s around her. “To him, who was never gay but in her presence, her gaiety seemed plain proof of indifference. The face she lifted to her dancers was the same which, when she saw him, always looked like a window that has caught the sunset.” (pg 22) The way that he describes her makes it very clear as to how he feels. However, because he married to Zeena, he keeps his feelings in check and doesn’t reveal anything. Towards the end of the novel, we see that Zeena has caught on to Ethan having feelings for Mattie, and shows her annoyance by purposely locking the door and taking the key when Ethan and Mattie are walking home. She lets them inside, and Ethan shows obvious want of staying downstairs with Mattie, but Zeena is obviously displeased and Mattie follows her upstairs. In response, Ethan makes a comment on how cold it is downstairs and follows them up. I hope that we will see Ethan reveal his feelings to Mattie, who clearly makes him much happier than Zeena ever has.

  23. In the first two chapters of “Ethan Frome”, we learn quite a bit about the situation that Ethan is in at home. The two new characters introduced in the story were Zeena, Ethan’s wife, and Mattie Silver, Zeens’s cousin. Ethan Frome has taken a liking to Mattie Silver, and Zeena seems to be jealous. Zeena started to scold Mattie more because Mattie originally wasn’t accustomed to house work, and therefore was ” “forgetful and dreamy.” Ethan Frome hung out one day hiding beside the window to see Mattie Silver in the church, and saw her dancing with Denis Eadley. After the night in the church, what surprised me and Ethan, because when Mattie Silver was offered a ride home from Denis Eadley, she refused and turned him down.
    Zeena also wants to get rid of Mattie, since she said that Mattie should go be married off, but I highly doubtful that it will happen anytime soon.

    My question is: What will Zeena do if she is suspicious of Mattie?

    • Good job on your article! I haven’t thought much about the relationship between Denis and Mattie. I too don’t think that they would get married. They danced and were friend to each other, but she hasn’t shown much signs of love or interest, unless when they mean partners during the dance they mean actual couples and not dance partners.

  24. In Chapters 1 and 2 of Ethan Frome, the narrator provides some backstory, where I believe it possibly started. We learn that Frome “… dabbled in the laboratory with a friendly professor of physics…”(p. 18) He went in front of a church, where a gatherings been held, but did not enter, just simply looked. He was looking at girl, named Mattie Silver, or Matt, who was dancing with her partner Denis Eady, who Ethan Frome may dislike, since he has some sort of feelings towards Matt. Then, we are given some backstory of Matt. We learn that she is his wife Zeena’s cousin, and that Zeena had suggested for her to move into the Fromes’ household “… to act as her cousin Zeena’s aid…”(p. 20) Whenever Matt goes to Starkfield when something interesting is happening, Ethan would walk Matt home. As she spends more time with Ethan, she and Ethan became closer friends, until it came to the point where Ethan fell in love with her. He starts to shave more often. “He did his best to supplement her unskilled efforts, getting up earlier than usual to light the kitchen fire, carrying in the wood overnight, and neglecting the mill for the farm that he might help her about the house during the day. He even crept down on Saturday nights to scrub the kitchen floor after the women had gone to bed; and Zeena, one day, had surprised him at the churn and had turned away silently, with one of her queer looks. “He did his best to supplement her unskilled efforts, getting up earlier than usual to light the kitchen fire, carrying in the wood overnight, and neglecting the mill for the farm that he might help her about the house during the day. He even crept down on Saturday nights to scrub the kitchen floor after the women had gone to bed; and Zeena, one day, had surprised him at the churn and had turned away silently, with one of her queer looks.”(p. 23) His own wife seemed to become jealous of Matt, as she has a bit of inefficiency in her job, and she spends a lot of time with Ethan, so she tries to convince him to have him hire a new girl to take care of her by saying she will leave them soon once she gets married to Denis. I feel like this is all leading up to something big and important, as Zeena is becoming jealous to the point she almost shuts them out. I cannot wait to find out what happens next.

    Discussion Questions:

    – Do you think Mattie is going to leave them for Denis?

    – What do you think will happen about the relationship between Mattie and Ethan?

  25. We have been introduced to Ethan’s mind in the first chapter. Our narrator has practicaly disappeared, and Ethan Frome is now the narrator.

    In these first chapters we are brought into Ethan’s insecure love life. He has a wife, Zeena, but he is in love with another, Mattie. Zeena is ill and can’t do much around the house, so Mattie comes to help. And Ethan can’t help but fall for her. She listens to him, and she seems interested in what he has to say. And unlike his wife, Mattie is active. Ethan starts to act a bit differently and shaves daily now, he had hoped that Zeena wouldn’t notice, but she did. And she seems jealous. But who wouldn’t be jealous? Zeena has every right to be jealous, and Ethan knows that, but he still can’t help himself from loving Mattie.

    DQ: Will Ethan ask Mattie to leave so that he isn’t as attracted to her? Or is she to important and helpfully to have her leave?

    DQ: What happened to our old narrator? Why did it start out in his point of view, and then transfer to Ethan’s, will this continue to happen?

    For the second one I think I have an answer, but I want ro know what you guys think

    • Great response, but I only have one technical error: is Ethan the narrator? It might be a theory worth looking into, but the story is still from 3rd person perspective, and talks about Ethan in a detached manner. We also have the end of the intro to imply that it is still the same narrator explaining Ethan’s perspective. Otherwise, great job though!

  26. In these chapters, we begin the actual events of the novel. The narrator in the introduction has vanished, but the story is still being told from a 3rd person perspective. And along with these changes, we see the story is also now being told in the past tense. We also see at the very end of the introduction this sentence: ” It was that night that I found the clue to Ethan Frome, and began to put together this vision of his story.”(p16). This implies that the narrator, whoever he/she is, found something out about Ethan that enabled him to see his perspective on a ‘story’, which can translate to an event or just Ethan’s life from a certain point. This could be foreshadowing to an event that gets everyone involved and everyone’s attention, hence the narrator’s efforts to find this ‘clue’. But back to the point of what the chapters are actually about, we see conflict beginning to take shape (as it usually does at the beginning of any literature). Ethan Has always been in a limbo between Zeena and Mattie. Mattie was more pretty and sweet, while Zeena was a more sour-tempered and slightly less pretty. But what made Ethan decide was Zeena’s financial stability put up against Mattie’s poverty. Ethan hence decided to marry Zeena. Years pass by, and Zeena becomes more sour, and Ethan begins to steadily lean towards Mattie. Recently, (relative to when the story told is occurring,) Zeena has fallen ill. Mattie decides to come to help. Ethan is now extremely tempted to side with Mattie, and does. But he does this (trying to be) in a subtle manner. He tries to tidy up whenever Mattie comes over, for example. His wife is beginning to catch on, and it becomes increasingly apparent that there is a tension growing between Zeena, Ethan and Mattie. My only question is: could this lead to what gets the narrator involved? and what might happen?

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