79 pages 2 hours read

Edith Wharton

Ethan Frome

Fiction | Novella | Adult | Published in 1911

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Paired Texts & Other Resources

Use these links to supplement and complement students’ reading of the work and to increase their overall enjoyment of literature. Challenge them to discern parallel themes, engage through visual and aural stimuli, and delve deeper into the thematic possibilities presented by the title.

Recommended Texts for Pairing

Edna Pontellier’s suicide in The Awakening

  • from American writer Kate Chopin’s 1899 novel, which depicts protagonist Edna’s growing disillusionment as a wife/mother and her love for another man
  • often categorized as naturalist literature
  • connects to themes of human agency and gender
  • Compare and contrast the way each novel frames the characters’ thoughts and actions in the moments before and during their suicide attempts, as well as the circumstances that have led them to that point.

“Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”

  • 1923 poem by Robert Frost
  • connects to the theme of human agency (How free is the poem’s narrator to do as he likes?)
  • Compare Frost’s use of winter imagery and depiction of the New England landscape to Wharton’s.

“The Hard Truths of Trying to ‘Save’ the Rural Economy”

  • New York Times article by Eduardo Porter published December 14, 2018 (Note: subscription may be required)
  • connects to the theme of industrialization
  • Consider how ongoing economic changes continue to fuel the decline of rural American communities; discuss other potential parallels between contemporary American sociopolitical issues and Ethan Frome (e.