Edith Wharton Writing Styles in Ethan Frome

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Critics hail Ethan Frome as the most carefully constructed of Wharton's novels. The story relates events that occurred twenty-four years previously within a narrative frame of the present, similar to Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. Of the story-within-a-story structure, the Nation wrote in 1911, "Such an approach could not be improved" A single, unnamed narrator tells the entire tale. Wharton frankly acknowledged that she borrowed the technique of the narrator as omniscient author from Honore de Balzac's La Grande Bretche. The pieces of the story the narrator is able to glean from the inhabitants of Starkfield are presented within this narrative frame. Critics emphasize that the story the reader reads is at best the narrator's vision of events. As biographer Cynthia Wolff writes, "Everything that the reader can accept as reliably true can be found in the narrative frame; everything else bears the imprint of the narrator's own...

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This section contains 1,363 words
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