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Thinking Aloud Edith Wharton: When the last line is a reversal that turns the tables on the dominant character, there can be a special tang, a final kick. Delphin Slade and Mrs. Both are widows who have known one another since they were girls; in time, it becomes clear that Mrs.
Slade—Alida—made the better match than did Grace Ansley, as Delphin Slade was a very prominent figure in his time. Each woman has a marriageable daughter they have traveled with to Rome. We meet them as the girls—Babs Ansley and Jenny Slade—go off on an outing with eligible bachelors, leaving the mothers to share the late afternoon sun at a restaurant overlooking the Colosseum.
Surprised to encounter each other after so much time, and in such similar circumstances, they seem to share companionable silence, thinking fondly of the same old times.
The story is told mainly from the point of view of Mrs. Slade and the reader is lulled into thinking that this is a character study about the slightly condescending matron, who seems to have a chip on her shoulder regarding the sweeter, quieter Mrs.
Ansley, who sits calmly knitting.
“Roman fever was the punishment for disobedience in the cautionary tale that Grace Ansley’s mother told her, and roman fever, apparently, was exactly what Edith herself suffered when mother once allowed her the wrong sort of reading.” (). Similar lives, different women Mrs. Alida Slade and Mrs. Grace Ansley from Roman Fever were two middle-aged women from the New York’s high society whose lives were similar in many ways, but this two refined ladies were not exactly “cut from the same cloth”. In the first place, Mrs. Slade reflected a lot of jealousy and resentment when she. “Roman Fever” introduces us to a pair of matronly Society women, Mrs. Delphin Slade and Mrs. Horace Ansley. Both are widows who have known one another since they were girls; in time, it becomes clear that Mrs. Slade—Alida—made the better match than did Grace Ansley, as Delphin Slade was a very prominent figure in his time.
The resentment seems to stem from the dynamic between the older women and their respective daughters, based on a maternal rivalry, perhaps. Slade seems somehow affronted by Mrs.
Ansley harbors a silent superiority toward Mrs. The slow build of the story derives from the manner by which Mrs. Slade eventually brings up what is bothering her. Ansley were girls, the warnings were less effective—though the drop in temperature in the area was still a concern—and young couples would sneak into the closed ruins as a place for illicit trysts, perhaps made more exciting by the risks.
Ansley, we learn, went out after hours on that fateful trip in the women's youth, contracted pneumonia, and was bedridden for months. The best short stories urge us on by their pace, letting us absorb details and making us want to see how they add up. Slade reveals the great secret she has been harboring all these years.
She knows why Grace went out at night to the Colosseum. Grace had immediately burned the note, and is genuinely shocked that Alida knows its contents. Slade reveals that she wrote the note. She had hoped that a frustrated rendezvous would keep Grace away from her betrothed, about whom she was clearly uncertain.
Grace went to the Colosseum, became ill, and was put out of commission for a time, then swiftly married Horace. Alida married Delphin, as intended. The revelation, ostensibly an apology for deceiving Grace to the detriment of her health, lets us feel that Mrs.
Slade has the upper-hand. She was victorious then, and she has now destroyed Mrs. Ansley's treasured memory of the letter.
The one detail, we may suppose, that gave Grace her sense of superiority was her knowing something about Delphin that Alida did not. But Wharton has more in store. As we take in Mrs. Ansley turns the tables. She did, indeed, go to the Colosseum that night, as the letter indicated, but Delphin was there to meet her!
She had replied to the letter, which Alida had never considered, and so Delphin met Grace for an illicit evening in the ruins—all along, Grace Ansley has known something Alida Slade did not suspect. Slade, one-upped beyond belief, quickly tries to save face: Ansley had only the letter and possibly the rendezvous, if her story is to be believed ; Mrs.
Slade married Delphin and had him for life. Ansley leaves the stage victorious, and Mrs. Readers who missed that "Babs" is short for Barbara may find the line quizzical and need to return to the opening where the latter name appears early when Mrs.
Ansley murmurs an unheard rebuke at her daughter.
Slade, and the attentive reader knows exactly how the latter must take it.Slade, lost in thought, determines that she will stay on the terrace, and Mrs. Ansley stays as well.
Slade talks, somewhat absentmindedly, about the many different meanings Rome has held for different generations of American women. Roman Fever and Other Stories study guide contains a biography of Edith Wharton, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
About Roman Fever and Other Stories. Contrast Characters In Roman Fever. Proficiency 1, 1b 18 October The importance of minor character in “Roman Fever” by Wharton. Roman Fever is a story which was written by Edith Wharton in The story is divided in two parts and tells of the interactions of two women of high society.
Alida Slade: Middle-aged widow of Delphin Slade, a corporation lawyer. While she is dining in Rome with her old friend, Grace Ansley, the narrator reveals that she really despises Grace, who once was intimate with Delphin before he married Alida. The more agitated Alida becomes, the calmer Grace seems.
When Alida Slade, ''burst out with violence'' in her voice, Grace Ansley's voice ''grew clearer.'' The reader learns that while Alida may have had Delphin for 25 years, she never stopped feeling jealous and insecure. Grace, in comparison, faces life calmly and confidently.
Roman Fever: Character Analysis & Quotes Alida Slade has been envious of Grace Ansley their whole lives, even 25 years ago when they were in Rome last.
The two main characters in the story.