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The Story Of "roman Fever"

The Story Of

In the short story Roman Fever by Edith Wharton

, the story of two women who used to be best friends is explored. The characters who are involved in the main part of the story are two women who used to be best friends when they were younger. The first is Grace Ansley, a middle aged woman who is now widowed and visiting Rome with her young daughter Barbara Ansley. The other main character is Alida Slade, another middle aged woman who is also widowed from her husband visiting Rome with her young daughter Jenny Slade. The nonliving character that connects both of the women in the novel is Alida's now departed husband, Delphin Slade.

The story opens with two women who have not seen each other in twenty-five years, since the last time they were in Rome. This time they are visiting the city with their young daughters, who are roughly the same age and seem to be getting along very well. Both women used to be friends when they were young but now seem to have some kind of animosity between them. As the story builds the reader learns that the animosity around the two women is formed over a former love interest they both shared and whom one of them married. The man in question is the now passed Delphin Slade who both women took an interest in when they were younger. Apparently, the two women were in competition over him back when they were in Rome together twenty-five years prior. At the time Alida was the one dating Delphin and in order to prove that she was the one he wanted to be with she wrote a fake letter to Grace asking Delphin to meet her at the Coliseum one night. Thinking she is being crafty, Alida tells Grace, now twenty-five years later, that the letter had not come from Delphin but Alida herself. Grace has a surprise for Alida, however, stating that the two had meet up all those years ago. Stunned Alida decides to try to pull a fast one on Grace, stating, "I had everything; I had him [Delphin] for twenty-five years. And you had nothing but that one letter that he didn't write." Grace, however is much quicker than Alida and comes back with an unexpected twist, by telling her former friend something she did not expect at all, "I had Barbara."

Thus, Grace shows the reader that the encounter with Delphin was a lot more productive than Alida ever imagined, by producing an illegitimate child by Delphin.

Copyright (c) 2010 James Holan

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