In the short story, Roman Fever, two widowed women discover the ironic and jealous friendship carried throughout their lives. As the women meet in Rome, unknowingly of each others presence at first, they sit and discuss the present and a night many years ago that took place in this very city. In the last passage, the narrative story show’s detail, irony, jealousy and comparison of the title to the story.
The irony of this passage is Mrs. Slade thought she had everything she could have asked for and still was unhappy. Since she knew about the affair all along, she took matter into her own hands 25 years ago. By writing a letter to Mrs. Ansley, pretending to be Mr. Slade, and telling her to meet him in the Colosseum. She was expecting Mrs. Ansley to be dumped by him however, she did not think through the whole plan. “Mrs. Ansley hesitated, as though reflecting. “But I answered the letter. I told him I’d be there so he came.”(Wharton45). This shows irony because she didn’t think to expect a reply and thought all along that they would never met up that evening.
The author has given a complete detail of each woman’s thoughts and actions. At this time in the story, the women are sitting in the terrace and the sun is beginning to set. Mrs. Ansley has been completely reserved and relaxed, “But now she turned slowly toward her companion.”(Wharton 44). The women have already confronted each other about Mrs. Slade’s late husband and Mrs. Ansley at this point. Even though both women knew about the affair between Mr. Slade and Mrs. Ansley, Mrs. Slade was still in complete outrage after all these years. Expecting Mrs. Ansley to be filled with jealousy, it is actually the complete opposite. “Mrs. Slade sprang up from her leaning position. “Delphin there? They let you in?-Ah, now you’re lying!” she burst out with violence”(Wharton 106).
Jealousy played in important part of this story. Even though Mrs. Slade had a lovely lifestyle she was unhappy with her daughter. In the beginning of the story, she complains and reflects her daughter Jenny and wishing to have Mrs. Ansley’s daughter Barbara. At the very last moment the women sat outside the terrace and its beginning to get very cold. When they decide to leave Mrs. Ansley acknowledges her pity for Mrs. Slade. Outraged with Mrs. Ansley’s remark she defends herself quickly, “Yes; I was beaten there. But I oughtn’t to begrudge it to you, I suppose. At the end of all these years. After all, I had everything; I had him for twenty –five years. And you had nothing but that one letter he didn’t write.” (Wharton 44).
The narrator describes Mrs. Slade as feeling she had won the battle. Mrs. Ansley stayed reserved after being spoken to like so, at the very last sentence she returns with a great explanation as to why Mrs. Slade is surely false. “I had Barbara,” she said, and began to move ahead of Mrs. Slade toward the stairway.” I think this was the perfect way to end the story because you begin to feel sorry that Mrs. Ansley did not end up with her lover. However, Wharton completely tricks the reader by reminding us of her wonderful daughter and how much Mrs. Slade envied her. Even though Mrs. Ansley was not able to be with her lover she still found love through her late husband. When it comes to the title, Roman Fever was a type of cold you could catch during the time of the sun setting. Because Mrs. Ansley was extremely sick the night of the last affair, you would expect that being thee reason for the title, however I believe it was called Roman Fever because of the affair between Mr. Slade and Mrs. Ansley while in Rome The rage Mrs. Slade felt towards Mrs. Ansley was considered the Fever.
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