Analysis of Roman Fever by Edith Wharton

            Analysis of Roman Fever by Edith Wharton

Roman Fever is a one of Edith Wharton's most anthologized stories. The story is about the friendship and the ironic counterpoints that interfuse the relationship between two American women, are out spending time together with their respective daughters in Rome. The story is celebrated for its layered texture, for the way the unsaid in the narrative speaks of emotions and feelings that each of the two woman in the story keep to themselves, and for the way the language is used to show the changing responses of these characters. The situation of the story concerns a particular evening in Rome when the two woman are relaxed engaged in conversation about their daughters in an ambience of serenity and calm. With the other guests in their resting place having left the scene, the two woman begin the conversation by considering the change in attitude in their generation and that of their daughters. Wharton builds up the story to its climax in the end, but the sign and signals for such an ending are laid down from the start of the narrative itself. As the narrative moves forward, we see a gradual unpeeling of the different layers which are modulated at every turn and as the surprises emerge the reader cannot come to a sense of finality regarding the state of things until the last sentence of the story. And even when the final revelation of Grace opens up so many possibilities the implications of the statement " I had Barbara " refer back to issues in the narrative that now acquire a completely new connotation.

Roman Fever by Edith Wharton

The story line of the Roman Fever is not very complicated but the manner in which the layers of the past unfold in the narrative that is what holds surprised in every turn. Grace Ansley and Alinda Slade are two American woman who have had a constant bond of friendship over several years. Their families have interacted with each other and the ambience between all the members have been one of cordiality and understanding. READ MORE ( its free you just need comment below i will add full article )


Roman Fever: as a term Roman fever was used to refer to malaria, because it was believed to have been caused by faulty air; in the context of the story , however, although there is a reference to Grace' illness in the damp atmosphere where she is supposed to meet Delphin.

Tarquinia: a city in Lazio

Memento Mori: a Latin phrase meaning "remember that you die" a phrase that signified mortality, often represented by the image of the human skull.

Roman Fever Study Questions :

  • Examine this story as an example of feminine friendship. How does the story shed light on the way female protagonists occupy themselves with issues specific to woman ?
  • Write a note on the narrative method and style of Edith Wharton in Roman Fever.
  • Examine Roman Fever as a story concerned with deceit and deception.
  • Summary and Analysis of Roman Fever by Edith Wharton.

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