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roman fever


            The story Roman Fever by Edith Wharton is about two women and the ongoing jealousy, a result of a past love affair. In the story, Mrs. Slade holds a secret envy for Mrs. Ansley and reveals the horrendous actions she took to retain "her" Delphin. In the end, the plot takes an unexpected turn against Mrs. Slade, despite her efforts. Edith shows through a third person omniscient view that schemes spurred from jealousy will boomerang right back at the plotter. Mrs. Slade's actions as a result of her rage were blind and damaging.
             Although the story is told from a third person omniscient point of view, Wharton focuses the main part of the story on Mrs. Slade's thoughts to emphasize her jealousy towards Mrs. Ansley. Mrs. Slade feels "afraid" (70.5) and threatened by "[Mrs. Ansley's] quiet ways, [her] sweetness."(70.5) These feelings that Mrs. Slade has not only reveal her envy of Mrs. Ansley, but also of her jealousy of the relationship between Delphin and Mrs. Ansley. It is these feelings that cause Mrs. Slade to take action and "protect" herself from any further intimidation. Her plan to write the letter in order to get "[Mrs. Ansley] out of the way"(70.6) was made in her blind fury, lacking the sensibility to consider the consequences that would accompany her plot. Mrs. Slade knows that she will "never cure herself of envying [Mrs. Ansley]"(67.8), which shows that she has continued resenting Mrs. Slade all these years. Mrs. Slade's jealousy is also apparent as the reader learns of Mrs. Slade's feelings toward Barbara, Mrs. Ansley's "brilliant"(65.4) daughter. "She [knows] that Babs [will] certainly come back engaged to the extremely eligible Campolieri"(67.7) and that her own daughter "has no chance beside her"(66.9) These thoughts and feelings are all expressed through Mrs. Slade's mind, bringing out her spite and envy.
             Mrs. Slade's malevolence makes it so the reader sympathizes more with Mrs. Ansley. Wharton achieves this by presenting both of the women's opinions of each other.


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