Roman Fever and Other Stories

Life is Never as it Seems College

Edith Wharton challenges the notion of knowledge and understanding, even of one’s own personal experience, in her short story “Roman Fever.” The application of Jackie Royster’s scenic analysis to Wharton’s “Roman Fever” perpetuates the idea that an understanding of the reality of human life and existence is never attained by any individual due to the nature of human discourse and tendency to assume.

To employ Royster’s tactics one must start with a depiction of the story or scene at hand. “Roman Fever” takes place on a balcony restaurant in the heart of Rome. Two women, Grace Ansley and Alida Slade met years ago in Rome as young women transitioning from adolescence to adulthood. Since then, their lives have constantly been interwoven. For years they lived across from each other in New York. Their daughters are friends and both of their husbands are deceased. The women watch the sunset over Rome and begin to delve into their lives together over the years. They discuss with each other and privately reflect on Roman experiences, love, social status, family, and even perceptions of each other. Over the course of the scene, it is revealed that Ansley had an affair with Slade’s fiancé, and eventual widower, long ago. Through a series...

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