Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. This three page essay is a compared and contrast paper on Zenobia and Mattie. It also includes a work cited page!

Essay by VeronicaOA+, February 2004

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Beauty Versus the Beast

In Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, Ethan, a reserved young man was torn between two women. He was married to Zenobia Frome, but his true love was his wife's cousin, Mattie Silver. Zeena and Mattie were different in all aspects. Mattie was a caring, loving, beautiful young girl, while Zeena was a sickly, shrewish woman aged well beyond her years. Ethan was continuously drawn to Mattie throughout the novel, as she was much more attractive and amicable than Zeena.

In the novel light was an important motif. When light was shed on Zeena it "...drew out of the darkness her puckered throat... and deepened fantastically the hollows and prominences of her high-boned face under its ring of crimping pins" (38). Light is used in order to emphasize Zeena's austere and worn face illustrating her cold personality. When light was shed on Mattie it "...drew out with the same distinctness her slim young throat and...

it threw a lustrous fleck on her lips, edged her eyes with velvet shade, and laid a milky whiteness above the black curve of her brows" (59). Mattie looked radiant and full of beauty beneath the light under which Zeena had appeared hideous. It is clear that Mattie would appear more attractive to Ethan.

The hair of Zeena and Mattie was quite often referred. Zeena had only "thin strands of hair" (45), and she wore a "hard perpendicular bonnet" (45) on top of her head. The sight imprinted in the reader's mind is not a pleasant one. Zeena appears to be stern and rigid. On the contrary when Mattie's hair was described, it is more appealing. Ethan remembers her "smoothed hair and a ribbon at her neck" (58). A ribbon is more appealing to the reader than a "hard, perpendicular bonnet."...