by Edith Wharton
Ethan Frome Morality and Ethics Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"I've been in a dream, and this is the only evening we'll ever have together." (5.34)
No wonder things go badly. Ethan doesn't believe he deserves or can ever have the kind of happiness he feels with Mattie. The conflict between his desire and the moral code he thinks he needs to follow always bring him to these kinds of pessimistic moments.
"You can't put her out of the house like a thief – a poor girl without friends or money. She's done her best for you and she's got no place to go to. (7.67)
Zeena probably feels that she has the moral high-ground in the situation. And though she doesn't know that Mattie and Ethan have never had sex or kissed, her suspicious are right that they are in love.
"You wanted to make the supper-table pretty; and you waited till my back was turned, and took the thing I set most store by of anything I've got […]. (7.126)
Zeena is talking about the dish, but she's also talking about Ethan. From Zeena's perspective the whole episode is a grave ethical breach on Mattie's part.