1. The winter setting for the flashback story and the frame story represents the emptiness of the characters' lives. Like the climate, the characters seem dreary, cold, and isolated.

2. White and red are the notable colors in Ethan Frome. The white snow represents coldness and hopelessness, in line with the souls of the characters. Red represents the spark of hope and is the color of fire, which contrasts the blank snow. Mattie is always depicted in a red scarf or ribbon and is a beacon of light in the darkness of Ethan's world. Red also represents vitality and the heart, and the story can also be interpreted as a tale about the heart and its strifes.

3. The sled represents the temptation of transgression. It stands atop the hill waiting to fall just as Ethan stands at the brink of falling apart morally. The rapid descent is indicative of Mattie and Ethan's fall into oblivion, their "life in death." It represents the furious intensity of transgression before the fall.

4. The irony in Ethan and Mattie surviving the accident is that the result was the exact opposite of that which was expected. Instead of dying in bliss, the two characters survived in misery. In the end the smash-up permanently destroyed the feelings it was meant to preserve forever.

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