Literary Realism in Ethan Frome

Essay by spiritladyUniversity, Bachelor'sA, June 2005

download word file, 2 pages 3.0

Literary Realism in Ethan Frome

The history of literary realism dates back to the nineteenth century movement in America and European literature. Literary realism accurately represents situations, in an everyday world.

In the book Ethan Frome, you can tell that Edith Wharton portrays realistic points of view. She does this by describing the town of Starkfield, its specific shops, and the people who inhabit the town. She also describes the population of Starkfield with great care and gives them specific characteristics that a casual observer would notice if they were in the company of these people. Edith Wharton also describes not just the situations the people of Starkfield find themselves in, but also how the situation came to pass and how each person eventually feels about being in that circumstance.

Edith Wharton describes what the landscape looks like in that part of the country during the winter months. "Day by day, after the December snows were over, a blazing blue sky poured down torrents of light and air on the white landscape, which gave them back an intenser glitter"(3).

This particular description of the snows in this part of the country describes a simple fact in a manner that the reader can understand and eventually come to, not just acknowledge, but deepen their own sense that this could be a factual tale.

The author continues to add to the realism by the expressive emotions of the characters and how they react to one another. "'Then you don't want to leave us, Matt?' He had to stoop his head to catch her stifled whisper: 'Where'd I go, if I did?' The answer sent a pang through him but the tone suffused him with joy. He forgot what else he had meant to say and pressed her against him so closely...