An engineer who is temporarily residing in Starkfield while assigned to work at a nearby power plant, and who is sympathetic to Ethan's troubles. Wharton's use of a narrator who is an outsider in the community contributes to the suspense of the tale, as the narrator tries to reconstruct the tragedy from a few direct observations and details provided by Mrs. Ned Hale and Harmon Gow. Wharton also intended the narrator to serve as a bridge between her "simple" characters and the sophisticated readers who were the audience for her novels.
The Ethan Frome quotes below are all either spoken by The Narrator or refer to The Narrator. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of Ethan Frome published in 2005.).
When I had been there a little longer, and had seen this phase of crystal clearness followed by long stretches of sunless cold; when the storms of February had pitched their white tents about the devoted village and the wild cavalry of March winds had charged down to their support; I began to understand why Starkfield emerged from its six months' siege like a starved garrison capitulating without quarter.
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; but there was nothing unfriendly in his silence. I simply felt that he lived in a depth of moral isolation too remote for casual access, and I had the sense that his loneliness was not merely the result of his personal plight, tragic as I guessed that to be, but had in it, as Harmon Gow had hinted, the profound accumulated cold of many Starkfield winters.
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The timeline below shows where the character The Narrator appears in Ethan Frome. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.