2011-2012 school year: o frabjous day!

Ethan Frome is a book that pisses a lot of people off; it was forced on them in high school and engenders a tremendous amount of hatred. I’d guess this loathing also stems from the main character, who is, I will not deny, a pathetic of the highest order. I can’t help liking the book though. I love how ordered it is; Wharton does things in Frome that should reek of writerly desperation, like naming the stark farming town STARKfield… but the prose is so lovely, she gets away with it.

This is my go-to example to give when I have students who say “We read this in middle school!” There are good reasons to revisit great works of literature. I’m often surprised at how many of my students don’t realize that. For many, barely reading a book or poem once is good enough.

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2 Responses to “2011-2012 school year: o frabjous day!”

  1. I HATE Ethan Frome; I bet it’s related to the fact that I still remember the order of the answers on Mrs. DiBello’s quiz. +/- 1900; Starkfield, Massachusetts; the pickle dish represents the shattering of their hopes and dreams! This is space where I probably could have stored moments like my wedding day or the first time my child speaks.

    • Christopher Pearce Says:

      I’m going to be honest here and say one of the reasons I liked Ethan Frome both then and now is that I identified with him. You remember what a mess I was in high school… I stupidly assigned a deeply stupid sense of nobility to Ethan, even if, on a second reading, it’s clear that he’s a wuss of a most ridiculous order.

      Back then, I thought Ethan’s “decision” to kill himself was something to be admired. Now I just see him, as we all do, as an idiot.

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