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Roman Fever

  • Date Submitted: 01/12/2013 11:03 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 62.7 
  • Words: 564
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Edith Wharton is one of American’s most celebrated female novelists, with an esteemed devotion to fiction work. Most of her novels and stories reflect attitudes of upper-class society in New York in the last half of the 19th century. In the short “Roman Fever” she explores the hypocrisy hanging over the lives of three main characters: Mrs. Alida Slade, Mrs. Grace Ansley and Mr. Delphin Slade who are socially successful people.

Mrs. Alida Slade is upper class woman, “the wife of a famous corporation lawyer”. Her husband always had something interesting going on with his clients and that kept her busy with “… the impromptu entertaining of eminent colleagues from abroad, the hurried dashes on legal business to London, Paris or Rome…” But at the end of the story, we find out that she is so selfish covering by the appearance of a wealthy lady. She harms Grace without hesitation by writing a faked letter with the purpose of killing her or in the least making her ill with the dangerous fever because of the fear of losing Delphin Slade. In the present, she shares equal resentment over Mrs. Ansley’s daughter, Barbara, and the purpose of revealing the secret of the letter is to hurt Mrs. Ansley again. As a result, she only gets “a strange sense of isolation”. She lost her friend because of her selfishness.

Mrs. Grace Ansley and Mrs. Alida Slade are equal socially, financially, “a bag as discreetly opulent-looking as Mrs. Ansley’s”. Readers may prefer her than Mrs. Alida Slade because she is sympathetic, genuine and sincere. However, she betrays her close friend with the dating with Delphin, her close friend’s fiancé, at the Colosseum. That is the reason why her behavior “with the same undefinable stress”, “suggested interrogatively”, “hastened to assure her” is to cover her guilty with Mrs. Alida Slade. Moreover, she has pregnant with Dephin, and she hurries to marry Mr. Ansley. She cheats her husband for 25 years about Barbara who is Delphin’s daughter.

Mr. Delphin is a...


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