“Ethan Frome” and “A Custom Of the Country” Analysis

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In my longer paper, I will be discussing the way Wharton views dependency throughout her creations. I will be using the Ethan Frome and A Custom Of the Country. Both novels have a strong female character that depends on their male counterpart or counterparts to influence decisions as well as actions taken by them. Zenobia is the antagonist in Ethan Frome while Undine Spragg seems as if she should be an antagonist she is actually the protagonist of the story. Before I go on to defend my topic. I would like to define what DPD is. According to a health line article dependent personality disorder is described as a few things. People who seem to suffer from this disorder have a tremendously difficult time making any decision without the influence of someone else’s actions. making a decision alone without anyone elses influence is almost virtually impossible.

The biggest downside of this is the inability to make even the most simple of choices without assistance. This side of the disorder aligns well with Zenobia and her actions. Another facet that pertains more to Undine is listed as four things which are being easily hurt by disapproval, fearing rejection, being overly sensitive to criticism and The inability to be on their own. The part of the description of this disorder that pertains to undine is listed as four things. One is “being easily hurt by disapproval” when someone tells undine what not to do it become the end of the world. This happens within a few sections of the text. One example is the section where her father gets guilted into buying her season opera tickets (‘I’d a good deal rather have a box for the season,’ she rejoined, and he saw the opening he had given her. She had two ways of getting things out of him against his principles; the tender wheedling way, and the harsh-lipped and cold—and he did not know which he dreaded most.)

Instead of accepting the simple fact that her family has been having financial issue Undine constantly demands more. This is because Undine has learned how to manipulate her parents into doing anything she wishes. In the quote her father states two ways she gets what she wants which is the soft gentle way most like what today people use as “puppy dog eyes” or the aggressive more verbal approach of relentless emotional abuse until she gets what she wants. Undine was able to learn these ways to success from her mother. She could always would assume that “there were ample funds to draw upon, and that Mr. Spragg’s occasional resistances were merely due to an imperfect understanding of what constituted the necessities of life.”

Another description of DPD that she falls in line with is the inability to be alone. Once the story begins it seems as if Undine has been on the lookout for a wealthier and more powerful suiter to provide her with what she believes to be necessities in her life. What we end up finding out is she has actually been with 4 males Elmer Moffat, Ralph Marvell and Raymond dechells. Each suitor starts out being able to provide what she desires but when their influence starts to not be enough she packs her bags and moves on. Coincidently she ends up with her original suitor elmer moffat.

A final description of DPD that can be used to fit the situation is the fear of rejection. Throughout undines entire lives she’s always wanted more and more. That’s why she has upgraded numerous times to higher and higher classes because she secretly fears that who she is will never have the power she desires. In fact on the last page of the novel we discover that because she has been divorced she will never be able to be an ambassador’s wife. She finally discovered her worst fear and that’s something she could never become and power she could never attain. feeling isolated and nervous when alone fearing rejection

Within the novel Ethan Frome unlike In The Custom of The Country there is more of a sense of codependency instead of a singular one sided dependency. Both Ethan and Zeena have become tremendously dependent on each other. One instance Is when Zeena forced Ethan to go to bed. It may seem insignificant but this is a crucial demonstration on the power DPD has over people. Ethan did not want to go to bed even though Zeena insisted it. But Zeena took a more demanding approach began to pressure him until he felt like had no choice. Of course he then decided to back down and follow her to bed like a dog with a tail between its legs. This demonstrate such a simple inability to control a simple action of not going to bed without yielding to someone else’s demands.

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“Ethan Frome” and “A Custom Of the Country” Analysis. (2021, Oct 25). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/ethan-frome-and-a-custom-of-the-country-analysis/

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