Ethan Frome

Ethan Frome Summary

Ethan Frome is set in a fictional New England town named Starkfield, where an unnamed narrator tells the story of his encounter with Ethan Frome, a man with dreams and desires that end in an ironic turn of events. The narrator tells the story based on an account from observations at Frome's house when he had to stay there during a winter storm. The novel is framed by the literary device of an extended flashback. The first chapter opens with an unnamed male narrator spending a winter in Starkfield. He sets out to learn about the life of a mysterious local figure named Ethan Frome, a man who had been injured in a horrific smash-up twenty-four years before. Frome is described as "the most striking figure in Starkfield, the ruin of a man with a careless powerful look in spite of a lameness checking each step like the jerk of a chain. The narrator fails to get many details from the townspeople. However, the narrator hires Frome as his driver for a week. A severe snowstorm forces Frome to take the narrator to his home one night for shelter. Just as the two are entering Frome's house, the first chapter ends. The second chapter flashes back twenty-four years; the narration switches from the first-person narrator of the first chapter to a limited third-person narrator. Ethan is waiting outside a church dance for Mattie, his wife’s cousin, who lives with Ethan and his wife Zeena (Zenobia) to help around the house since Zeena is sickly. Mattie is given the occasional night off to entertain herself in town as partial recompense for taking care of the Frome family without pay, and Ethan has fallen into the habit of walking her home. It is made clear that Ethan has deep feelings for Mattie, and it is equally clear that Zeena suspects these feelings and does not approve.

Book Reviews


Boo1 star


Spider-Man (Colton)

Ethan Frome1 star

Didn’t understand a thing. 😂15


Ethan Frome1 star

Ethan Frome’s ending was confusing and anti-climatic15


Such a tragic story. Definitely gets you thinking5 star

Really makes you sympathize with Ethan. He was only trying to achieve happiness55


LOVE IT!!!!!5 star

I had to read this book for my College Comp class last year and I could not put it down. I read the entire thing in one sitting. I absolutely love it and I would read it a million times if I could. I love this book and highly recommend it!55

Remastered and renewed

Horrible Book!1 star

I hated the ending when they tried to kill themselves they would have been better off if they had just finished the job.15


Simple, realistic, and wounding3 star

A quick,vocabulary-rich read. I launched into this reread and finished in a couple of hours (took longer because I was making a study guide for my class as I read). It was just as heartbreaking and hopeless as when I first encountered it. This short but very rich look at the bleakness of harsh,country life without love or hope leaves the reader considering their own blessings. Another raw look at the familiar theme of unrealized or unconsummated love.35


Ethan Frome4 star

The story covered a period in the lives of three people tied together through a bitter dependency. They lived in extreme poverty. These two circumstances gave a grim tone to the book. The reader is compelled to follow the story with the hope of a relief to the dreary story line.45

EJ ^_^

Quick but satisfying read5 star

I had to read Ethan Frome for an English class several years ago, and to this day it's one of my favorite books. Don't take it at face value- it's not very exciting. But from a literary analysis standpoint, it's rich and full of fantastic ideas and deeply satisfying content. Be warned, though- it does have a very bleak ending.55


Ethan Frome Review5 star

I like the book, but Edith blows up the smallest intimate moments like, holding hands. C'mon man, beautiful story line though55

Other Books by Edith Wharton

The Age of Innocence


The Age of Innocence
4.5     485
House of Mirth


House of Mirth
4.5     266
The Custom of the Country


The Custom of the Country
4.5     116

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