Previously in this series: The Animorphs and Sylvia Plath.
Ethan Frome is probably a book about a man named Ethan Frome who just loves to go sledding. “There goes Ethan Frome,” the villagers say, “probably going sledding again, on account of how much he loves sledding.” He’s just nuts about it, I guess. At first the other villagers aren’t so sure about how much Ethan Frome loves to go sledding, but eventually they all come around.
ETHAN FROME [sledding]: wheeeeeeeeeee
MRS FROME: dont you go sledding ethan
ETHAN FROME: come on
MRS FROME: ok
MRS FROME [sledding]: wheeeeee
At first Ethan’s wife Zenobia is worried they won’t have enough pickles to last the winter (the Fromes love pickles), but then it turns out that they do, and they all sit down to a nice dinner with some pickles.
ZENOBIA: where is the pickle dish
ETHAN FROME: its right here
MATTIE: i’m afraid i broke it
i’m so sorry
ZENOBIA: thank you for being honest with me
it was an honest mistake
ETHAN FROME: let’s put the pickles in another dish
and we can call that dish the pickle dish
MATTIE: what a great idea
ZENOBIA: pickles for everybody
The main conflict of the story is how much Ethan Frome loves to go sledding. He just sleds everywhere. The ultimate struggle is between Ethan and society, because society doesn’t want him to go sledding as much as he does, but he does it anyways. Some people wonder: is it too much sledding? “Ethan Frome,” they call out as he sleds by, “in a land this austere, surrounded by people this stoical whose snowy hearts match this frozen landscape, is it right to sled this much?”
But it isn’t. It’s just the right amount of sledding. Then he goes home and has vigorous, athletic sex with his wife who loves him.
ETHAN FROME: i want to go sledding
who will go sledding with me
ZENOBIA: i don’t feel very good
i cant go sledding
MATTIE: i will go sledding
ZENOBIA: what a perfect solution to all of our problems
ETHAN FROME AND MATTIE [sledding]: wheeeeeeeee
“im going sledding.” – Ethan Frome, 1911
In conclusion, Ethan Frome is a novel of contrasts. How much Ethan Frome loves to go sledding is contrasted with all the times that he can’t go sledding, or has to wait a little while to finish work before he can go sledding later.
ETHAN FROME: lets go sledding right now
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.