Ethan Frome, the main character in the book entitled Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton, has many
complex problems going on at the same time. His family has died and he has a wife that is continually sick, and the only form of happiness he has is from his wife's cousin Mattie. This,
however, at times proves to be hard because of Ethan's wifes interference. Nothing seems to be going in Ethan's favor. The main theme of the book is failure, and this is shown through marrying his wife, not being able to stand up to his wife, and his involvement concerning the 'smash up.' The first way failure is shown in the book is through the marriage of Ethan and his wife. He married her because she had tried to help his mother recover from an illness, and once his mother died he could not bear the thought of living in the house alone.
His wife was seven years his senior and always seemed to have some kind of illness. It seemed all she ever did was complain, and he
resented this because it stifled his growing soul. Since his wife was continuously ill, and her cousin needed a place to stay, they took her in to help around the house. Ethan took an immediate propensity to her cousin, Mattie, because she brought a bright light upon his dismal day. He seemed to have found someone that cared for him, was always happy and could share his youth, unlike his sickly wife who always nagged him. He longed to be with Mattie, however he had
loyalty to his wife. Being married to the wrong person proved to be Ethan's first failure. Ethan's second failure was not being able to stand up against his wife. His wife claimed...