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Character Roles (Protagonist, Antagonist...)
Tools of Characterization
Mrs. Ruth Hale
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Ethan Frome Characters
Meet the Cast
Ethan is our tragic hero, a man of many faces. He lives with two women, his wife and his wife's cousin, with whom he was (and maybe still is) in love. It doesn't sound like such a great situation,...
Because we see Mattie only though Ethan's (and the narrator's) eyes, and only hear her thoughts if she speaks them, she remains a rather mysterious character. Let's dig a little deeper into Mattie'...
Zeena and the Narrator's BiasWe know that the narrator is entirely biased and that he portrays everything the way he imagines Ethan must have seen it (see "Narrator Point of View" for more specific...
The narrator is an engineer who has come to Starkfield to work at a nearby power plant. He's an educated, upper-middle-class man who happens to become fascinated by the figure of Ethan Frome, 24 ye...
Harmon Gow is the town gossip. He used to drive the stagecoach before the railroad was built and that is how he knows the stories of all the families in town. Harmon is the first person to give the...
Mrs. Ruth Hale
Ruth is the daughter of the late "lawyer Varnum" and has a little more money and a little more education than the other women in town (Prologue.19). She lives with her mother in the big house that...
Ned is dead by the time the narrator arrives in Starkfield. We only see him once in the story that takes place 24 years before. It's an important moment: Ethan surprises Ned while he's kissing Ruth...
Andrew Hale is Ned's father. He likes Ethan and has business dealings with him. Ethan almost borrows money from him to use to run away with Mattie. However, Ethan decides that he couldn't live with...
Mrs. Hale is Ned's mother and Andrew's wife. Ethan runs into her on his way to borrow money from Andrew. She's so sweet to him that he abandons his plan to borrow money from her husband and skip to...
When we first meet Denis, he is a wealthy man, the owner of a grocery store, and also the person who gives the narrator rides to the train. When Denis's horses all die, the narrator is forced to hi...
Michael Eady is Denis's father. He started the grocery business that made his son a wealthy man.
Jotham Powell works for Ethan at the sawmill and the ranch. We don't really get to know him.
Ethan's parents aren't named, and are dead before the action of the story begins. Because Ethan dropped out of school to care for them, they are important factors in his feeling stuck in Starkfield...
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