Notes on Objects & Places from Ethan Frome

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Ethan Frome Objects/Places

Starkfield, Massachusetts: The name of the town in Ethan Frome. The name of the small Massachusetts town represents a bleak, cold and dismal environment. Ethan and Mattie cannot escape their dreary life in Starkfield.

Mattie's cherry-colored scarf: Ethan notices the bright-colored scarf on Mattie when he sees her dancing. Mattie is always associated with the color red; he is attracted to the cheerful, lovely Mattie.

The elm tree: The elm tree that lies in the path of sledders on a hill. Mattie and Ethan try to kill themselves by throwing themselves in the direction of the elm tree.

Mattie's crimson hair ribbon: Mattie puts the ribbon in her hair on the night Zeena has gone out of town and she and Ethan are alone. Ethan is attracted to the sight of a vibrant, lively Mattie when she wears the color red.

Zeena's pickle-dish: The Fromes' cat, Pussy, accidentally breaks Zeena's dish that she treasures. Mattie uses it on the night Zeena is out of town to serve her and Ethan's supper. Ethan attempts to glue the dish back together, but before he can, Zeena spots the broken dish and demands to know why Mattie and Ethan used it without her permission. The pickle-dish enrages Zeena and gives her more reason to hate Mattie and Ethan.

Ethan's study: The small room that Ethan uses to escape the daily feelings of loneliness and the dreariness of his life with Zeena. It is a retreat for Ethan to get away from Zeena's complaints and illness, and to be by himself and enjoy his solitude.

The sled: The sled that Ethan and Mattie ride on the night they try to kill themselves. The sled their last hope of being together - in death.

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