Roman fever

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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EDITH WHARTON'S ROMAN FEVER Roman Fever by Edith Wharton is a story about two well-to-do American widows who escort their unmarried daughters on a grand vacation. Alida Slade and Grace Ansley are the primary characters in Wharton's tale that incorporates love, mother/daughter relationships and sexuality into a compelling piece of literary work. The story's beginning finds the older women partaking of the glorious view of the Forum from their restaurant seats. The younger ladies, on the other hand, have announced that they plan to take an excursion without their mothers' supervision. While alone, the mothers compare with each other the extent to which their own mothers hovered over them, so overprotective and confining. They point out that this behavior comes from a long line of family mothers who, too, were just as protective over their daughters, as well. It is then that the concept of Roman fever is mentioned as a way in which to keep women from venturing out at night.

It is difficult to ascertain which of the two older women is the true antagonist and protagonist, as they both accomplish some unfriendly activities within the story line. As one of Alida's encounters as antagonist, she attempts to harness her jealousy, guilt and vindictive gratification regarding the fact that Grace double-crossed her in love. It seems that Grace feigned an illness one evening in their youthful years, begging off any further activities following a late night sightseeing expedition. What really occurred, which did not escape Alida's knowledge, was the fact that Grace had a rendezvous with Alida's fiancé, Delphin Slade. Alida barely controlled her anger enough to compose a letter that she penned as though she were Delphin, beckoning Grace to a prearranged meeting. The reader then considers which character is the most illicit in her actions:...