Realism Within Ethan Frome

May 24, 2021 by Essay Writer

Today, realism is common in literature. Rather than emphasizing a broad plot, realism emphasizes personal struggles with moral and ethical challenges. The quality or fact of accurately portraying a person, object, or circumstance in a way that is true to life or a faithful representation of reality is referred to as realism. It usually portrays a realistic scenario with a fictional plot and characters. In literature, there are several examples of realism. The majority of realism examples deal with moral dilemmas. Other forms of realism involve practical problems that reflect real-world problems. 

Characters in the story evolve in the same way as people do in real life. Within realism class-system is heavily focused on and events tend to be reasonable. Since the story involves a big ethical problem, Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton is a prime example of a novel that employs realism. Ethan is married to Zeena, but his true love is Mattie. Ethan must decide whether to be happy with Mattie or reasonable with Zeena. Ethan Frome is also an example of realistic literature since it focuses on the characters rather than having a plot filled with action. The focus on Ethan’s struggle in the lower class is a key factor for realism in Ethan Frome. The story of Ethan Frome is heavily driven by the realism and naturalism components found in the novel.

A frame narrative is used to add complexity and realism to Ethan Frome. Wharton wrote the prologue and epilogue to form an all-encompassing frame around Ethan Frome’s tragic tale. She employs this framework to convey Ethan’s complex and pleading life, while also affecting reality and the social backlash that Ethan, Mattie, and Zeena face. Ethan, one of the novel’s main characters, is an elderly, cripled man who is in love with his wife’s cousin. Zeena is Ethan’s wife, and she suffers from mental illnesses. Mattie, Zeena’s nephew, is in love with Ethan. In Ethan Frome, there are several examples of naturalism: the characters, their deformities and lowly social status, and the disturbing world they lived in. Ethan’s life has not been easy. Naturalism has been expressed by his life experiences. 

The reader learns at the start of the novel, from the following quote, that Ethan is paralyzed as a result of an accident. “The smash-up it was-I gathered from the same informant-which, besides drawing the red gash across Ethan Frome’s forehead, had so 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.


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