Literature is used to present many concepts in the real life. The occurrences in a piece of literature represent what happens in real life in a vague manner. Therefore, literature may be used to advocate for a concept or campaign against another. In the same way, it presents a concept as beneficial or as wasteful. The role of education in Wharton’s book Ethan Frome has vastly been discussed giving an all-round perception. Education has been used in the book to explain why things are the way they are as well as why some are different. Edith has successfully used the theme of education to explain the occurrences in normal life.
At the beginning of the book, Edith presents Ethan being aware of his environment and appreciating it.it is through education that he came to understand his surrounding and its beauty. As the author quotes that even though the death of his father put a premature end to his education, the little he learnt gave him the meaning of huge clouds in daily life. Education empowers individuals to appreciate the nature with all it has.
Education dictates the level of expertise in one’s field of work. Ethan’s wife, Zeena is unhealthy, and several medical practitioners have seen her; as it is evident from their (Ethan and her) conversation in chapter seven of the book. As their conversation progresses, there is a mention of a certain Dr. Buck, who, according to Zeena is an expert. In this light education has played a part in making Dr. Buck an expert in his field of specialty. Zeena had been seen by many medical practitioners to no good, but she is convinced the prescription of Dr. Buck would work. Her confident comes from what she learnt from her fellow neighbors. She says that a certain Eliza Spears, who was wasting with kidney problem, was cured after Dr. Buck saw her. It could be concluded that Dr. Buck is superior to his colleagues as a result of his vast knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge and wisdom in the medical field can only be attained through education and vast reading in that case.
Education directs the economic lifestyle of individuals. From the conversation of Ethan and his wife, Zeena, it is said that the doctor prescribed that Zeena should do no work and, therefore, needs a house help. For one to be a house help, it means she did not achieve much in education although might be learned. Also, it is the level of education that has made Mr. Buck a doctor. It is only through education that the economic activities of these two individuals vary. Through education Buck became a doctor and because of lack of sufficient education, the lady found by Zeena became a casual worker, a house help. A better example is Ethan himself. He manages his farm and gets meagre income from it simply because his education was prematurely terminated after the death of his father.
As the book ends, Edith presents communication through writing as the form of communication through which Ethan and Mattie used. Therefore, in this light education gives power of communication. Writing is a basic in education. It has enabled the two to communicate despite the prevailing situation. Ethan is also seen considering writing a note to Zeena his wife once he leaves with Mattie to the West. Although the characters had not achieved heights in education, the little they had, is significant in that they used it to communicate. Another element of communication highlighted in the book is when Ethan offers the hired man, Jotham, a free meal and he answer with the same words. The author says that this was as a result of his limited vocabulary. His vocabulary is limited because of his limited or no education; therefore, education is essential to communication. It provides a common ground for communication for people of a different race and language.
In conclusion, the author successfully presented education in the book, as a useful tool for good living. She has brought out the many advantages of education as well as the many disadvantages of lacking education or sufficient of it to be specific. She has sited very relevant examples in real life situations through which all readers of the book can be part. Edith has also been able to build and maintain the attention of her audience through this theme of education. She has used characters of all ages such that the learners of literature can easily follow the unfolding of the story. Through the use of a doctor and the medicine filed, Edith catches the interest of all learners aspiring to be doctors. Every student who reads through this book would wish to be associated with success in his field as Dr. Buck has. Through the use of a house help, Edith downs the reality of poor education to the learners thus pushing them to want to read more and learn more about education.