Ethan Frome, a poor, downtrodden New England farmer, is trapped in a loveless marriage to his invalid wife, Zeena. His ambition and intelligence are oppressed by Zeena's cold, conniving character. When Zeena's young cousin Mattie arrives to help care for her, Ethan is immediately taken by Mattie's warm, vivacious personality. They fall desperately in love as he realizes how much is missing from his life and marriage. Tragically, their love is doomed by Zeena's ever-lurking presence and by the social conventions of the day. Ethan remains torn between his sense of obligation and his urge to satisfy his heart's desire, up to the suspenseful and unanticipated conclusion.Perhaps reflective of Wharton's own loveless marriage, this sophisticated, star-crossed love story vividly depicts her abhorrence of society's relentless standards of loyalty. Ethan Frome is one of Wharton's most popular and best-known works.
Published in 1911, Wharton's novel is set in the desolate New England town of Starkfield. Ethan Frome, a painfully loyal farmer and his demanding wife, Zeena, are trapped in a cheerless marriage. When her cousin Mattie comes to work for them, Ethan and Mattie struggle against forbidden feelings, but inevitably, they fall in love. Scott Brick's able narration conveys the pervasive dreariness of lives only briefly relieved by the advent of possibility. However, as with many of Wharton's novels, irony dominates. Brick's performance offers a familiarity with Downeast colloquialisms and thoroughly believable New England accents. He brings Wharton's characters to oppressive life in this unrelentingly grim story. This production opens with a brief summary of the author's life, offering insights.
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A time capsule not to be missed