Perilogue Notes from Ethan Frome

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Ethan Frome Perilogue

The narrator sees two women sitting in the kitchen, one preparing the meal, the second sitting immobile in the chair. The narrator realizes that the droning, moaning sound comes from the second woman sitting in the chair. Ethan introduces the women to the narrator - the tall woman is his wife, Miss Frome, and the other, Miss Mattie Silver.

When the narrator returns to the Hales', Mrs. Hale is surprised to learn that he had spent the night at the Frome farm. She surmises that the narrator must have been the first stranger to stay in the Frome house for over twenty years, but confesses that it is always Ethan's face that gets to her the most, not the sight of the women. Recalling when she saw the injured Mattie and Ethan right after their sled ride, she breaks down into tears for poor Mattie and Ethan. Zeena had both sent to the house so that she could care for them.

"There was nowhere else for [Mattie] to go," Mrs. Hale says of Mattie, "and then Ethan's face'd break your heart...When I see that, I think it's him that suffers most." Perilogue, pg. 179 - 180. Mrs. Hale speaks sadly that it might have been better if Mattie had died, for:

"if she'd ha' died, Ethan might ha' lived; and the way they are now, I don't see's there's much difference between the Fromes up at the farm and the Fromes down in the graveyard' 'cept that down there they're all quiet, and the women have got to hold their tongues." Perilogue, pg. 181.

Topic Tracking: Death and Isolation 11

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