Destiny can shape the lives of many different kinds of people, such as princes who are meant to be kings and the poor who know they will not have the opportunity to be wealthy. Ethan Frome taught me that it is human nature to follow the destiny and predetermined life patterns bestowed on us upon birth. In one of the earlier chapters of Ethan Frome, the author describes the gravestones of many Ethan Fromes before the main character. It shows that Ethan will live and die in Starkfield, and he cannot change that regardless of what his aspirations are.
Humans seem to have picked a spot and stayed there. A girl who grows up in a small town in the Midwest in a school with a class of one hundred, will experience the same lifestyle but through the eyes of a grown up woman. Even though this girl might have had dreams of living her own lifestyle, the barriers her destiny have formed between her aspirations and the reality of her predestined future. Life seems to be similar to a computer for many, as it is for Ethan Frome. One can type in a course for someone to follow, and it seems to never run off the tracks.
Having a predetermined life does not always have to be about where you come from geographically. Even looking around Morristown High School, you can see patterns where, sadly, certain students do not have the same opportunities for success as others because of their past. The child of a well known cardiologist who lives in The Summit is given the drive and determination to learn as a characteristic from their parents, and it is already programmed into their life course.
The child of an immigrant who is doing as much as they can to get by, might not be able to find that drive and determination as easily within themselves as the child who has been given those qualities from birth. On the other hand, there are those who can break those barriers. Every once in a while, you hear about a success story of somebody who fell off the life course but eventually found their way to a new and improved one. Those people are far to scarce. I will never forget a billboard I once saw in New
York that read “Homeless to Harvard. ” The picture showed a girl who looked as normal as a next door neighbor, but her struggles and accomplishments brought her to an ivy league school. Ethan Frome, Zeena, and Mattie Silver fell unbeknownst into the course of life that Starkfield Massachusetts had made. Cold winters and relationships forced them to stay on a path to mental destruction and misery. The story taught me that it is human nature to follow the set of rules made by the surrounding society.
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