Love can cause a person to make poor decisions.
Lack of money often leads to unhappiness.
Hardships influence decisions people make.
Poverty creates a life that is hard to escape.
The cruelties of nature can destroy a person.
Be careful what you wish for.
Don't let others hold you back.
Don't marry someone for reasons other than love.
Money can't buy happiness.
Be content with what you have.
Importance of the issues of money (examples)
1) Mattie came to Starkfield because she had no money.
2) Zeena and Ethan fight over the lack of money.
3) Everyone was stuck in Starkfield because they did not have enough money to leave.
4) Ethan couldn't run away with Mattie because he didn't have money.
5) There was not enough money to support a hired girl AND Mattie.
6) There was not enough money to further Ethan's education.
7) Zeena's medicine cost a lot of money.
Irony in the story
Mattie ended up like Zeena. Even though she tried to escape her fate, she still aged. Zeena ended up caring for Mattie even though Mattie came to help Zeena. Mattie originally was Zeena's opposite, but the two ladies became virtually indistinguishable.
Ten characters to know for matching
Ethan - obvious
Zeena - obvious
Mattie - obvious
Denis Eady - likes Mattie
Jotham Powell - helps Fromes
Mrs. Ned Hale - Ned's wife, talks to narrator in the Epilogue
Philura Maple - wedding gift
Harmon Gowe - "the smart ones get away"
Andrew Hale - the man Ethan tries to get money from
Engineer - the narrator
Facts to know...
1) Zeena is older than Ethan.
2) Mattie lived with the Frome's for a little over a year.
3) In the prologue, Ethan is 52
4) In the story, Ethan is 28
5) Ethan is 24 years older in the prologue/epilogue than in story.
6) Mattie does not have housekeeping skills but Zeena does.
7) Know the symbolism.