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Roman Fever, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 333

Essay

Rivalry between friends often plays out in the most unexpected ways. Roman Fever (Wharton) may be best understood by employing contextualizing as the critical reading strategy. Mrs. Ansley and Mrs. Slade have known each other since forever but their friendship has been nothing short of a never-ending rivalry. One should keep in mind the fact that the story takes place in early twentieth century when the idea of women having lifelong career was almost non-existent so women basically competed on the basis of their husband’s career, their wealth, and children etc. Thus, we often see Mrs. Slade thinking of herself as better than Mrs. Ansley because she got married to a more handsome guy, enjoyed an active social lifestyle, and did frequent travelling with her lawyer husband.

But despite all of this, Mrs. Slade did envy Mrs. Ansley for having a more vivacious daughter she wonders, “But if Babs Ansley isn’t out to catch that young aviator—the one who’s a Marchese—then I don’t know anything. And Jenny has no chance beside her. I know that too. I wonder if that’s why Grace Ansley likes the two girls to go everywhere together! My poor Jenny as a foil—!” (Wharton). Mrs. Slade’s jealousy is once again evident when she says to Mrs. Ansley, “And I was wondering, ever so respectfully, you understand… wondering how two such exemplary characters as you and Horace had managed to produce anything quite so dynamic” (Wharton).

Overall, Mrs. Slade seems to be an egoistic individual who is mad at Mrs. Ansley for her past feelings towards Mr. Delphin (Mrs. Slade’s husband) and, thus, doesn’t want to let go of any thought that makes her feel superior as well as the winner. Even at the end of the story, she doesn’t hesitate to remind Mrs. Ansley that even the letter Mrs. Ansley treasured was fake. This final reminder prompts Mrs. Ansley to disclose that Mr. Delphin is Barbara’s biological father and not Mrs. Ansley’s late husband.

Reference

Wharton, Edith. Roman Fever. 11 October 2011 <http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/ewharton/bl-ewhar-roman.htm>.

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