79 pages 2 hours read

Edith Wharton

Ethan Frome

Fiction | Novella | Adult | Published in 1911

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Essay Questions

Use these essay questions as writing and critical thinking exercises for all levels of writers, and to build their literary analysis skills by requiring textual references throughout the essay. 

Scaffolded/Short-Answer Essay Questions

Student Prompt: Write a short (1-3 paragraph) response using one of the below bulleted outlines. Cite details from the novel over the course of your response that serve as examples and support.

1. Consider the novel’s setting, including Wharton’s depictions of the landscape and town and the significance of Starkfield’s name.

  • What role does setting play in driving the novel’s plot and/or shaping its characters? (topic sentence)
  • Identify three moments when the novel’s characters interact with or respond to their environment in some way. Analyze what these moments reveal about the importance of the novel’s setting, citing evidence from the text to support your claims.
  • Finally, use your concluding sentence or sentences to summarize the relationship between Ethan Frome’s setting and the theme(s) of the limitations of human agency and/or industrialization’s effects on rural America.

2. Consider Wharton’s use of foreshadowing throughout the novel.

  • How and why does Wharton use foreshadowing to hint at the novel’s conclusion? (topic sentence)
  • Identify three moments of foreshadowing in the text and discuss their effect in light of the story’s ending.