Emily Kramer's Reviews > Ethan Frome

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
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's review
Aug 14, 2008

liked it

Never believe what the back of a book says about a novel. i did, but only because as I read i started yearning to know "what happens" and about halfway through i began dropping words and skimming through pages because it was so painful to read its slow and detailed decline towards devastating hopelessness.. This book says that E.F. gave up his only chance to be happy and it was that choice that led him to be even more miserable then he he was before he knew he options.

i disagree. E. Frome never had a fair shot. He was tied to despair from the start and his dying mother (and his own male inadequacies) left him with little to hope for. He cut his loses and took the fast route out by marrying a capable woman sure to shoulder his share of life's burdens. Only soon this burden becomes too much for her to bear and he turns to obsessive romantic fantasies for relief from the reality his wife can't structure for him.

But what does he say of this love he is fixated on? Mostly how his ability to steer the clueless little fawn into action by the mere hint of authority in his voice causes blood to rush through his otherwise dead veins. And the way her blind trust in him makes his masculinity thrive even as he knows the appearance will shatter as soon as he's called to task.

In the end, so paralyzed by his desire to take a hold of a fantasy he never planned out, he fails to act on the simplest request - to take the poor girl out of her misery. Instead he fixes the threesome to a life of whiling away their hours in joint misery. Although what more can you except from a life in Starkfield?

The back of the book should say that E.Frome tell us that while marriage and social class may be the worst of all circumstances in which to live and plan, true love will never deliver.

New Word: facetious = frivolous

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