Essay – Passage Question
• Re-read from “Of late there had been other signs of her disfavor…” (page 47) to “… a throng of disregarded hints and menaces wove their cloud abouthis brain.” (Page 49). How does Edith Wharton powerfully portray Zeena Frome?
Edith Wharton, in her novel Ethan Frome, has a special way of presenting her characters, specially using similesand metaphors. In this case, she powerfully portrays Zeena Frome through a balance use of ironic dialogue, specific choice of words (diction) and a building atmosphere of the character by EthanFrome´s point of view.
The authors physical balance description and dialogue of Zeena make her seem sad, “...her high-boned face taking a grayish tinge from the whiteness of the pillow.” Andjealous, “I wouldn’t ever have it said that I stood in the way of a poor girl like Mattie marrying a smart fellow like Denis Eady.” Furthermore, Zeena speaks only in a complaining whine, and all heractions seem calculated to be as vindictive as possible. She has realized there has been a change in his husband when Mattie came, “I guess you’re always late, now you shave every morning”. Sheexpresses his envious in an ironic way so as not to be so direct. Ethan’s wife shows an image of invisibility, but she was always there, ominous, “Zeena herself, from an oppressive reality, hadfaded into an insubstantial shade.” Her illness might make some of his crotchety behavior forgivable, but she so relishes her role as a sufferer of hypochondria, or al least exaggeration, “Thedoctor don’t want I should be left without anybody to do for me”. It is important to note, however, that all of Zenna´s faults are relayed from Ethan’s point of view, which, given his passion forMattie, is far more impartial.
All in all, the portray presented of Zeena by Edith Wharton is not very positive. It is the image of a sick and jealous woman who is incapable of showing affection.