Morals Versus Desire Essay

957 words - 4 pages

Edith Wharton, author of Ethan Frome, successfully uses symbolism as a tactic to drive her intended themes home. One prominent theme throughout the novel is morals and conforming to societal standards conflicting with one’s desires that diverge from the status quo. Wharton’s symbols in Ethan Frome strongly support the theme of morals versus desire through emphasizing the gap between the two.

Initially, Wharton uses the red pickle dish to represent what is left of the love and vitality in Ethan and Zeena’s marriage; but after the dish has been broken by the cat, it symbolizes the destruction of their marriage. The cat destroying the dish is also significant because the cat represents Zeena's constant, foreboding presence inside the house. The cat being the one to blame for the breaking of the dish also means Zeena being the blame for the failure of the marriage, but in reality Ethan is to blame for the dish falling as the cat likely would not have knocked over the dish if his hand had not lingered on top of Mattie’s. Ethan’s feelings also begin to grow stronger for Mattie after the dish breaks because not only did it represent the marriage’s failure, but diminished the morals that come along with marriage. Eventually, Zeena finds the broken pieces of the dish that Ethan had hidden and though “her lips were twitching with anger” there was also “a flush of excitement on her sallow face” (109). Zeena expresses excitement because now it is not only her contributing to the failure of the marriage. But her anger shines through in the end despite her dissatisfaction in the relationship, because society’s reaction to the end of her marriage would be far more devastating than the emotional pain. The red pickle dish in itself represents the vitality and love within Ethan and Zeena’s marriage being overcome by desire, but when the color red stands alone it stands for something as a whole.

Above all, the color red in Ethan Frome stands out from the dull surroundings and symbolizes the passion, vitality and desires that lie within Mattie, nature and Ethan and Mattie’s relationship. The first time the color red is mentioned, the narrator refers to the gash across Ethan’s forehead. This gash foreshadows the instance where Mattie and Ethan allow desire to drive their decisions and attempt to end their lives. In the end they are severely injured, leaving Ethan mangled with this wound. The scar is specifically identified as red to represent that Ethan received it because of his desires and now it is one of the first things society notices about him. Similar to how Puritans had to wear a scarlet letter not only to be isolated by society but also reminded of their sin; this is Ethan’s scarlet letter. Red is also used to perpetuate the...

Find Another Essay On morals versus desire

Do changes in family and religious culture affect views on premarital sex within the African-American community?

992 words - 4 pages had the biggest effect on our sexual history…To be sure, what people actually experience is always a mixture of biological and social conditioning: Desire surges from the body, the mind interprets what society will accept and what not, and the rest of the signals are edited out by culture.” In the African-American community, sexual culture has changed drastically within the recent Generation Y and this change has come about because of altered

Untitled Essay

805 words - 3 pages in an attempt to join an upper social class. Jay Gatsby, a wealthy young man who has earned his wealth through breaking the law as an effort to win back a lost love. And finally Daisy, a woman who marries a man only because of his enormous wealth instead of a poorer man she truly loves. In the end, giving up their morals is useless; they each fail at achieving the status they desire. Another reason why this book qualifies as Modernist

Branches of Philosophy

1936 words - 8 pages our notions of do not entitle us to ascribe to God our own moral code. He taught that our moral thinking is due to our biological nature and our desire to survive. He further attacks the rational Plato and Socrates. Hume states that reason has no causality to the effect of morals. Reason will not motivate him to be moral. Furthermore, the only true motivator comes in the form of desires, sentiments, and the possibility of joy or pain. This

Decline of Biblical Christianity and Rise of 'Modern' Christianity

1486 words - 6 pages Christianity has quickly begun to lose its true meaning throughout the years. It’s when people use words like love and morals and common sense—they just don’t have the same meaning as they once did all those years ago. Christianity though, unlike the previously stated words, has been modernized in such ways that we have deceivingly altered things such as “The Ten Commandments” to foolishly fit our desired lifestyles. We have begun a

This essay describes how "Snow in August", written by Pete Hamill, incorporates the uses of fairy-tale elements in the novel

635 words - 3 pages experience it. The magic can be attributed to the rabbi's articulate use of words and Michael's creative imagination. Through these two powerful channels, the past is relived right before Michael's eyes (literally) and our eyes (figuratively).Next, the element of good versus evil is a prominent feature throughout the novel. On the good side are Michael and Kate Devlin, Rabbi Hirsch, Father Heaney, and most importantly, the Golem. In contrast, the

Discuss the two predominant conflicts (the ideas of modern society and the impulses of primitive man.), in the novel "Lord of the Flies"

754 words - 3 pages examples of conflict that arose dealt with the idea of shelters versus meat. Ralph?s priority (which represents and adults viewpoint) was to build shelters for protection, warmth and security. While Jack was determined and focused on hunting and killing a pig for meat. This ideology represents a child?s point of view of fun and games. ?We want meat.? ?And we want fire.? (Page 51). A second example that is expressed throughout the novel is the idea of

Sigmund Freud Versus Albert Ellis

978 words - 4 pages concerned with having their needs met. This is the original or unconscious personality. The ego is where decision-making occurs, judgments are made and memory is stored. Lastly, the superego contains the individual’s values, beliefs, and morals, which they get from their parents. According to Freud, women get their morals and beliefs from their mothers and men get it from their fathers. He also believes that an individual’s values are formed by

Moral Reasoning and Development

1583 words - 6 pages The Merriem-Webster dictionary defines a moral as concerning or relating to what is right or wrong in human behavior; based on what is you think is right or good. Morals refer to the way a person thinks, behaves, or reacts. Morals guide us to what we think is acceptable behavior. How does one go about acquiring certain moral values? It is believed that moral development begins in our childhood and continues into adulthood. Through

Tragically Forced to Choose A Novel Study on The Crucible-Arthur Miller Written by Alison Friedt

1271 words - 5 pages witchcraft.According to the Webster's Dictionary, a crucible is "a vessel in which metal is heated to a high temperature and melted for the purposes of casting". It can also be referred to a situation in which a person has to make a decision that can be critical to his morals and principles. There are many interpretations of the word 'crucible.' Closely related to the word "crucifixion", The Crucible is about a man put in a terrible situation, who is forced to

A Man Defeated By His Flaws

1229 words - 5 pages ” (Ehrenberg, O). Antigone believes in following the gods’ unwritten laws, even if it means breaking the laws set by Creon. The unwritten laws can be described as the laws set by God. They involve morals and beliefs presented by God. They are used in the process of making decisions and are used in the everyday action of people. Creon stated that no one shall bury or touch Antigone’s brother Polyneices. Antigone realizes that “it was not God’s

duchess

1759 words - 8 pages John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi is a seventeenth-century revenge tragedy. Pacheco defines revenge tragedy as a play that concerns itself with a character who ‘struggles to find justice in a dramatic world in which the privileged few abuse their power’ (2012, p.5). The Duchess is the play’s protagonist who ‘struggles to find justice’ against her brothers’ desire to seek revenge for her secret marriage to Antonio. This assignment will argue

Similar Essays

The Moral Truths Of Huckleberry Finn

978 words - 4 pages truth is the subjugation of Huck to his pap versus the subjugation of Jim as a slave.The last moral truth is the Huck realizes that all of his actions have consequences. Although there are many moral truths that can be interpreted through Huck and Jim’s relationship, these three moral truths are more vividly expressed than the others. The first moral truth is the conflicts between Huck’s personal morals against society’s’ morals. Huck befriends a

The Great Gatsby Essay

1267 words - 5 pages life. It was a total change from people who had been extremely conservative, always living life by the book, to a whole new generation of liberals who would change the way Americans lived their life. Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is a great example of the diversity of values at that time. He made sure to include every criteria, from old money to new money, humbleness and pride, and true love versus love for money, these are all aspects that help to form a persons morals and values.

Themes Of The Great Gatsby Essay

1393 words - 6 pages that Myrtle is has no morals when it comes to being faithful to her husband because she is cheating on him and it makes him sick that she is doing so. Adultery is an immoral action in which all of these characters participate. Immorality is something that may obstruct someone who is trying to live the American Dream. In The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald portrays the American Dream as the desire for money and love. Many people see the American Dream as

Duality Exists In Many Literature Books

1239 words - 5 pages sides that also appear all of the time in life - your wishes and other people’s wishes for you. Many times, people will go back and forth and look at the consequences of each choice, but numerous times, people can’t control their wanting to do what they desire. This, like good versus evil sides of people can lead to a lot of trouble. In addition to those, who Liesel is in The Book Thief shows how even duality can affect someone when they are very
Black Satin (5) | Argument Essay | Mass Effect Andromeda Update v1.09-CODEX