The Parallel Lives of Ethan Frome and Edward Rochester The tale of forbidden love binds itself within many famous works of literature in order to provoke the human mind into situations similar to those of Adam and Eve of the Bible. The “forbidden fruit” plays an important role in the books of Ethan Frome and Jane Eyre in the form of unattainable but beloved women, where two men, Ethan Frome and Mr. Edward Rochester, share common distinguishable attributes.
Their serene sensitive nature soon explodes into a passionate cause, later revealing a bare, desperate soul that longs for their beloved “forbidden fruit. ” Within Frome and Mr. Rochester lies an image of a sensitive individual, one that expresses his love to a special maiden, but in both cases, the men remain stuck with a distorted wife. They both pass the limits beyond the vows of married gentlemen, however; a need for true love forces them to surpass the restricted boundaries.
As Frome finally acquires a night to spend time alone inside the house with Mattie, his sensitive feelings toward the girl overwhelms his thoughts as she wraps her knitted work around her hands. Frome “saw a scarcely perceptible tremor cross her face, and without knowing what he did he stooped his head and kissed the bit of stuff in his hold”(96), wishing that his kiss could touch Mattie’s lips instead and that Zena would not be the obstacle between them. Similarly, Mr.
Rochester ends his once arrogant attitude towards Jane Eyre once he realizes that his heart belongs to her, leaving him a sensitive romantic. An atmosphere of deep compassion derives from Rochester as he says that Jane is “a beauty in my [his] eyes, and a beauty just the desire of my [his] heart- delicate and aerial”(246) when he finally reveals his love to his “little elf”(245). Unfortunately, the love Ethan Frome has for Mattie Silver, and Edward Rochester for Jane Eyre collides with a wife that causes the men to act in a passionate way in order to keep their most prized possessions.
When a threat against their love arises, Frome and Mr. Rochester display fiery passion against the injustice, when ironically they remain the ones who have technically started the unfaithfulness. Nonetheless, Ethan Frome refuses to let Zena win the issue over Mattie’s departure without a fight. He had long ago recognized his inability to find a soul mate with his awful, bitter wife. During his entire marriage to Zena, “she had taken everything else from him; and now she meant to take the one thing that made up for all the others”(118).
Ethan tensed up as “such a flame of hate rose in him that it ran down his arm and clenched his fist against her”(118), a sign that she could never send away his precious Matt. Rochester feels the same way, as he tries to justify that his wife is no longer a human, but a vicious monster. Any attempt to get along with a victim of insanity remains impossible, especially if any contact with the woman starts with a brutal attack.
After he manages to wrestle down and tame the mad woman, he explains that, “that is my wife and this is what I wish to have, this young girl, who stands so grave and quiet at the mouth of hell, looking collectedly at the gambols of a demon”(279); nothing less than Jane Eyre would suffice him. Now, the two men reveal that their passionate defense would try all attempts to keep their beloveds, but the fervent outlook turns into a desperate one as they continue to meet opposition. When passion lacks sufficiency, Frome and Rochester turn desperate for any hope of simply being together with their special women.
Ethan Frome, on one hand, desperately tries to find a way out of Zena’s Ride of Doom, but the possibilities seem impossible to actually accomplish. The least he can do is enjoy his last moments with Mattie as he takes her to the train station. Seeing that the departure between them provides too much pain, Ethan takes the desperate way out by coasting into the big elm tree as it “loomed bigger and closer, and as they bore down on it he thought: ‘It’s waiting for us: it seems to know’”(170), but unfortunately they still live.
Although Frome’s desperate action was intended to save Mattie’s love for him forever, he lost the real her as she grew old and bitter after the accident. On the same hand, Mr. Rochester becomes desperate too because he wants Jane’s forgiveness for the insane wife fiasco. He tells Jane that he never meant to hurt her because “if the man who had but one little ewe lamb that was dear to him as a daughter, had by some mistake slaughtered it by its shambles, he would not have rued his bloody blunder more than I [Rochester] now rue[s] mine [his]”(283-284).
With that, Jane immediately forgives his desperate plea, but leaves Thornfield because of her morals concerning a bound marriage. Hanging their heads low, the two desperate men continue to love their women with a bare, and battered heart; a heart that at least still beats. Again, the “forbidden fruit” that was eaten reaped the consequences that both Ethan Frome and Edward Rochester faced. However, their sensitive, passionate, and desperate character traits display all attempts in fighting for their precious women, revealing the common things that they and other men will do for love.