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THE RED PICKLE DISH: (more) Symbols in Ethan Frome

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Amanda Schaible

on 19 April 2011

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Transcript of THE RED PICKLE DISH: (more) Symbols in Ethan Frome

The Red Pickle Dish: What does it REALLY mean? The red pickle dish has much more meaning than we might think: First, let's break it down:
we'll start with : are sour, made with vinegar and cucumbers.

: are pickled with vinegar and salt as a way of preserving.

: Zeena is sour in temperament and makes comments that will pain Ethan, much like rubbing salt in a wound. Next: : Gift from Zeena and Ethan's wedding.
: Usually stored up high, safe
: Never used, one of Zeena's most prized possessions. we're also reminded of the dead cucumber vine over the door of the house, meant to symbolize Zeena. Let's relate this to our main characters. Ethan:
is the cucumber pickled by Zeena
attempts to fix the dish
Ethan puts the dish back together, but will have to find "glue" to keep it together glue=money
Ethan cannot follow through on his promise, he has no money (no loan from Hale) Zeena: will attempt to keep Mattie and Ethan parted.
is unwilling to use or show her passion.
in this way, Zeena is like the
: the cat and Zeena are silent observers
: the cat sits in Zeena's chair, breaks the dish right before an intimate moment between Ethan and Mattie
: Zeena is already aware of how Ethan feels for... Mattie: Red scarf, red dish
Mattie symbolized by the red dish; red dish broken by Zeena, Zeena breaks up Mattie and Ethan
It is Mattie who chooses the dish, Mattie is willing to show her passion Overall meaning:
-Broken dish=broken marriage
-Mattie is responsible
-Moment of intimacy is ruined by the cat/Zeena
-Ethan wants to keep the appearance of the marriage safe
-Ethan cannot protect Mattie forever
(no money, ties to responsibility and duty)
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