Matt Grann January 4, 2009 Ethan Frome is an example of realist text for many reasons. The novel has many gritty facts of life and explains the lower class. It also has shows the harshness of reality. Finally, Ethan Frome is an example of men having no free will and can’t avoid their fate. Ethan Frome shows examples of Realism because of the gritty facts portrayed throughout the novel. It shows many things that make the lower class of life seem horrible and harder than what used to be thought of the poorer men.
The upper class felt that poor people had no worries, but as a person would read realist text, they would realize that the poor life is hard and unrewarding. A gritty fact that is placed throughout the novel is that Starkfield is barren town. It is deserted, with limited townspeople and visitors. Also, the snow is not plowed, he has to drive himself around in the weather, and it shows him doing extremely trivial things. Frome scrambled… heavily booted foot” (pg 21), shows that it is extremely hard for him to make it through the snow, and him walking through the snow as a challenge is such a trivial thing, yet it brings a new character into the story by causing so many problems. He does many other trivial things throughout the novel that are explained, such as doing mill work, scrubbing the floor and doing dishes. This shows the worst parts of life, and shown throughout the whole book to show the problems that Starkfield faces.
Harshness of reality shows realism because of the problems Ethan end sup facing throughout the book. The winter is a problem that everyone faces, in each and every persons reality. This is unavoidable and just causes a hastle on Fromes life. Being married to Zeena is also another example of the harshness of reality, he has serious issues concerning Zeena and is unhappily married to her, yet he can do nothing to change what goes on in his life. Ethan says “he was seized with an unreasoning dread of being left alone on the farm; and before he knew what he was doing he had asked her to stay with him. He married Zeena for the sole reason of fearing being alone in winter and going crazy. Another is that he could not go to college because of his parents deaths. His mother and father both died while he was attending school and he was forced to come home and take over the family business and take care of the farm. It is unfortunate for Ethan because he was on the road to becoming great yet when his parents died he was forced to give up his dream. No free will also poses another issue in Frome’s life and portrays realism strongly in Ethan Frome.
The fact that he can’t avoid his fate is a strong topic throughout the novel. He can’t leave the house and go with matt because he will not have enough money to take her anywhere. The narrator states “There was no way out – none. He was a prisoner for life, and now his one ray of light was to be extinguished”, and this makes him realize life can never be fixed and get better. And he also cannot stay at home, because he loves Mattie and not Zeena so he is stuck in a dilemma, and can’t avoid what was meant to be.
Also his mother died in winter, which made him feel as if he would go crazy if he was stuck in the house alone all winter, which made him ask Zeena to stay with him even though he did not love her. This is just a reason of chance, and ended up being his fate. Also he tries to escape his fate, and die with Mattie but he is meant to drag on his life with Zeena for as long as possible. Ethan Frome shows examples of realist text. It shows the gritty facts of life that exploit the lower class. This show harshness of reality in the novel as well. Also, it is an example of no free will, and that you have no way to avoid your fate.