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Ethan Frome

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mattie love zeenie england

an ironic novelette of repressed love in New England, by Edith Wharton, published in 1911. The novel explores the rural decay of New England, and the way in which the poverty of the surroundings, the harsh climate, and the economic depression affect the lives of its inhabitants. The narrative is recounted by a young engineer, Ethan Frome, a sallow, embittered man, trapped by a strike in a small western Massachusetts town. He has remained with the family's failing farm to care for his father, then his mother, and finally his weak and dependent wife Zenobia (Zeenie). When her young cousin Mattie Silver arrives to stay, Ethan falls in love with her as she revives his life. Contemplating eloping with Mattie, he is prevented by his conscience. As Zeenie jealously orders Mattie out of the house, Ethan and Mattie confess their love for each other en route to the railway station, but recognize its hopelessness. However, after a careless accident with a snow sled, Mattie and Ethan are crippled and she returns with him to convalesce at the farm, where the three of them live out a strained and unpleasant existence.

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