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Ethan Frome Use of Visual Tableux

  • Date Submitted: 11/19/2011 08:21 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 66 
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Discuss Wharton’s Use of Visual Tableaux in Ethan Frome

Edith Wharton scars the reader’s minds with scolds in the form of visual tableaux. She implants these images of comparing the outside to the inside in key moments portraying to the reader the characters feelings of each other. Other techniques she uses to illustrate the characters opinions is by drawing distinct pictures of Mattie, to craft the reader an opinion of Ethan’s view towards Mattie. Wharton emphasises the mood of such scenes by drawing the landscape in exceptional beauty in relation to the scene.  

In the occasional scene Edith Wharton draws us the image of one character outside and another inside. This expresses the character’s opinion or personality. Early on during the tale Ethan walks into the town to collect Mattie from a “dance”. As he approaches the town hall he creeps up to a window. While watching the dance and Mattie he looks into the light coming from inside and sees Mattie being “whirled” down the length of the hall to the “bounding tune of the Virginia Reel”. The image Wharton crafts here sticks to the mind of the reader immediately telling him Ethan’s feelings for Mattie. The light representing the new life in his life, Mattie, and her inside in the warmth also represents this. He is alone outside adrift of everyone alike his solitary personality. When Ethan comes home to Zeena, his wife who he does not love any more, late one night with Mattie, he looks at the house from a distance and he sees the that the “shutter less windows of the house were dark”. The use of shutter less in this phrase adds to the effect of how the house is collapsing and how it is open to the elements. The fact Wharton creates this picture with the house being dark shows that Ethan has no feelings for her, and she is nothing special to him. The reader again is painted the image of the contrast between the outside and inside by Wharton, when Ethan again is returning home however this time it is to...

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