Significance of the dishes Mattie serves Ethan in the novel Ethan Frome?

I didn't quite catch the significance and symbolics of the dishes Mattie serves on the night alone (after Zeena leaves).

The dishes were blueberries, dough-nuts and pickles.

What's the significance? Thanks for the help!


Thanks, Trenton, but I understood the symbolism of the cat breaking the dish quite well. But I've heard that there is (sexual) "symbolism" behind the dishes, but I can't figure it out. Thanks though.

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I just recently read "Ethan Frome" for one of my summer reading books to prepare for AP Lit. I thought it was an easy read and simple to follow. Anyways, I am not sure what the symbolism behind those dishes would be. I don't remember if any of them are Ethan or Mattie or Zeena's favorite dishes. Maybe they resemble things, but I'm not quite sure.

    Sorry for not helping.

    EDIT: I did find this out about the red pickle dish that Mattie serves them in:

    The Cat and the Pickle Dish

    During their meal alone, and the evening that follows, Ethan and Mattie share the house with the cat, which first breaks Zeena's pickle dish and then seats itself in Zeena's rocking chair. The animal serves as a symbol of Zeena's tacit invisible presence in the house, as a force that comes between Mattie and Ethan, and reminds them of the wife's existence. Meanwhile, the breaking of the dish, Zeena's favorite wedding present, symbolizes the disintegration of the Frome marriage. Zeena's anguish over the broken dish manifests her deeper anguish over her fractured relationship.

    Maybe that will help! ;)

    Trenton ;)

  • 4 years ago

    Both; Movies and Novels

  • 1 decade ago

    they are quite sexual (think anatomy) and also not very substantial or practical... i would guess it's suggestive of lust.

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