Ethan Frome-Comparison Of Mattie And Zeena Essay, Research Paper
Ethan Frome Essay
Compare and Contrast the characters of Mattie and Zeena
In the novel Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton, the characters of Mattie
Silver and Zeena Frome are dissimilar in many ways. Mattie is a compassionate,
lively, outgoing woman who tries hard and has a positive outlook on life. Zeena, on the other hand, is a pessimistic, cold-hearted, and dull woman who is too self-absorbed to have fun in her life.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is Mattie s adventurous
spirit compared to Zeena s dull, monotonous lifestyle. Mattie enjoys activities such as going sledding down dangerous hills, dancing, and socializing with many of the people of Starkfield. Zeena stays at home all day unless she has one of her frequent sicknesses, in which case she might make a visit to the doctor. Otherwise she goes to bed immediately after supper every night, which is hardly an exciting life. This is a glaringly obvious variance from Mattie s personality.
Also, Mattie is much more compassionate than Zeena. An example of
Zeena s cold-heartedness is seen when she fires Mattie, her own relative, giving Mattie nowhere to go and no job skills on which to survive. Most people would not do this to their own kin. Mattie, on the other hand, is a very compassionate towards others, including Zeena. She is genuinely concerned for Zeena s health when Zeena had to see the doctor and whenever Zeena wasn t feeling well. She wants nothing but to do a good enough job around the house so that Zeena will be pleased with her.
Also, Zeena is a pessimist while Mattie always tries to hope for the best. For example, Zeena is told by the doctor that she is sick and shouldn t work so hard. Zeena takes this to mean that she is as good as dead if she doesn t hire a better maid than Mattie. Mattie, however, tries to find some good when things are looking down for her. When Zeena fires her and she has nowhere else to go and no job skills that would make anybody want to hire her, she still tells Ethan that she will surely find a job in a store somewhere, and that he shouldn t worry about her. Even though she knows deep down that there is very little chance of her making it on her own, she tries to stay positive about it.
These are some of the many differences between Zeena and Mattie in the
book Ethan Frome. Zeena is a negative, cold, boring woman, while Mattie is
positive about life, is very caring, and has a lot of excitement in her life.