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As he reached the door he met Zeena coming back into the room, her lips twitching with anger, a flush of excitement on her sallow face. The shawl had slipped from her shoulders and was dragging at her down-trodden heels, and in her hands she carried the fragments of the red glass pickle-dish.” (Ethan Frome, Chapter 7)
This passage is significant to the story because it goes deeper in meaning than what many see it as. Many readers think that Zeena is trying to have a reason to get mad a Mattie, rather than get mad at Ethan and Mattie’s secretive love. Zeena received that pickle dish as a wedding gift, so in a way that represents Ethan and Zeena’s marriage and love for each other. In a superstitial way, when the pickle dish broke so did their love and marriage. Especially since the pickle dish was broken by Mattie, I think Zeena may have begun to think that Mattie is the source of her and Ethan’s separation. This is why I think Zeena shows too much emotion when she finds out her pickle dish broke.
“The cat who had been a puzzled observer of these unusual movements, jumped up into Zeena’s chair, rolled itself into a ball, and lay watching them with narrowed eyes.” (Ethan Frome Chapter 5)
This passage is important to the book because the cat is another important symbol in this scene. Although Zeena is away, it is like the cat is her invisible presence. Ethan and Mattie were trying to get close but situations just became awkward because it was almost like Zeena was staring at them watching their every movement. If Edith Wharton hadn’t included this part Ethan and Mattie would have been able to become a lot closer during this trusted period.
“She put her lips close against his ear to say: ‘Right into the big elm. You said you could. So ’t we'd never have to leave each other anymore.’”(Ethan Frome, Chapter 9)
This passage is probably the most important passage of the whole book. It is very close to the end of the book and by this time the reader may have lost focus, but with such a jump into adventure the reader can get more excited to read the ending. This also shows that Ethan and Mattie have gotten to the point where they are both madly in love with each other. They can trust each other with anything, and they might as well die together than live separately. This also shows how much trust Ethan had in Mattie. She came up with such a crazy decision and without barley any hesitation he went along with it.
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