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Edith Wharton's 1911 novella "Ethan Frome" allows her to tell a compelling story while simultaneously exploring the gender roles expected of both men and women in pre-World War I American society. This paper discusses and investigates how Wharton both examines and manipulates ideas about both femininity and masculinity in this tale of love, tragedy and human dependence set in the New England countryside.
From the Paper:"Ethan marries Zeena because this is what men are supposed to do (even as she marries him because it is what women are supposed to do. Love does not, on either side, seem to have anything to do with it. Duty is a far stronger motivator in this world than emotion, and Wharton asks us to consider the nature of a society in which duty is so important as to override all other sensibilities. We have all been taught that duty is important, but Wharton reminds us that duty like so many other things, must be taken in moderation, especially as it applies to conventionally defined gender roles."
Cite this Analytical Essay:
"Ethan Frome" (2003, January 24) Retrieved April 22, 2021, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/ethan-frome-16540/
""Ethan Frome"" 24 January 2003. Web. 22 April. 2021. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/ethan-frome-16540/>