The red scarf and red ribbon Mattie wears at the dance and later at the farmhouse represent her passionate nature and the passion that Ethan feels for her. The color red also makes her stand out from the crowd, confirming Ethan's belief that she is exceptional.
Mattie's Red Scarf and Ribbon Symbol Timeline in Ethan Frome
The timeline below shows where the symbol Mattie's Red Scarf and Ribbon appears in Ethan Frome. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...dancing with Denis Eady, the son of Michael Eady, a wealthy shopkeeper. Mattie, wearing a cherry-colored scarf called a "fascinator," appears happy and exhilarated. Ethan is dismayed that Mattie doesn't see what... (full context)
...door, silhouetted in lamplight as Zeena had been the night before. She has run a crimson ribbon through her hair. The table is carefully laid for supper, with Ethan's favorite pickles in... (full context)