This is a novel about tragic longing and reckless passion. For me, what stood out the most in Wharton's work (besides the beautifully tragic ending) was her winter imagery. She writes of winter in a way that actually makes me yearn for snow, but look forward to Spring:
But at sunset the clouds gathered again, bringing an earlier night, and the snow began to fall straight and steadily from a sky without wind, in a soft universal diffusion more confusing than the gusts and eddies of the morning. It seemed to be a part of the thickening darkness, to be the winter night itself descending on us layer by layer.The frozen, sparse landscape mirrors the state of Ethan's heart and also works to create a sense of oppressiveness throughout the novel, an oppressiveness that effects each character in the novel:
He seemed a part of the mute melancholy landscape, an incarnation of its frozen woe, with all that was warm and sentient in him fast bound below the surface.I really enjoyed this novel. Wharton is a fantastic writer and I look forward to reading more of her work.
Publisher: Scribner, 1911