Ethan Frome

Edith Wharton


Summary Conclusion

Once again we witness the recurrence of the theme of physical surroundings as destiny. Ethan, Zeena, and Mattie all have become trapped—by snow and poverty and their disabilities—in the decaying farmhouse, and they will be trapped there forever, as Mrs. Hale’s closing words remind us: they will join the other Fromes in the graveyard, alongside the headstone of the earlier Ethan Frome and his wife, Endurance. And indeed, for Ethan himself, endurance is all that remains: his attempt at rebellion and escape has failed, and he ends where he began, trapped by illness, poverty, and winter in Starkfield, waiting for death.