Roman Fever

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Last updated: October 9, 2019


Characterize Grace Ansley and Alida Slade as fully as you can. By what characterizing devices does the story imply the superiority of Mrs. Slade (what gestures, what statements, what unspoken thoughts)? At what point does Mrs. Ansley begin to seem the superior person? Kirsten Grace Ansley initially seems to be the more passive of the two women since she does not hold strong feelings of rivalry and jealousy as Alida Slade does. She is not envious of Mrs.

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Slade because she secretly knows that Delphin chose her that night in the Colosseum.Although she is involved in more mundane activities — like knitting and playing bridge — the revelation of her relationship with Delphin shows that she is also passionate. Living across the street from him for twenty-five years and raising his child suggest that she is also capable of enduring love. Alida Slade, on the other hand, is driven by feelings of jealousy for Mrs. Ansley: these feelings first prompted Mrs.

Slade to write a fake letter to her from Delphin. Because Mrs. Ansley reacted to the letter, Mrs. Slade had, “always gone on hating [Mrs. Ansley]” (p.

360). Mrs. Slade believes that Mrs.Ansley was not met at the Colosseum since Delphin did not actually invite her; this allows her to feel superior in their friendship until Mrs.

Ansley reveals her secret. Mrs. Slade exerts her superiority over Mrs. Ansley by, for example, publicly insulting her: “‘I’d rather live opposite a speakeasy for a change; at least one might see it raided. ‘ The idea of seeing Grace raided was so amusing that (before the move) she launched it at a woman’s lunch” (p. 353). Mrs. Slade also privately compares herself to Mrs.

Ansley and refers to her and her husband as, “Museum specimens of old New York” (p. 53), or as, “nullities” (p. 353).

After Mrs. Slade reveals that she actually wrote the letter, she physically seems to dominate Mrs. Ansley by, “leaning above her” (p. 360), and, “continue[ing] to look down on her” (p. 360). The shift of power occurs when Mrs. Ansley tells Mrs. Slade that she responded to the letter and met Delphin that night.

Mrs. Slade grows hysterical and aggressive, and while Mrs. Ansley remains composed she says to Alida, “‘I’m sorry for you'” (p. 361). Kelsey Grace Ansley is characterized as old-fashioned, and as the smaller, paler one of the two women.It is shown multiple times that she is easily embarrassed and shy.

She is also said to be much less articulate and innocent-looking compared to Mrs. Slade. She feels sorry for, and pities, Alida Slade who is described as energetic and colorful with a strong face and dark, defining brows. Alida is portrayed as selfish and self-absorbed, yet she is a vivid, respected woman.

It is shown that she is envious of Ansley. Mrs. Ansley begins to seem the superior person on page 359, paragraph 82: “Mrs. Slade waited nervously for another word or movement. None came, and at length she broke out: ‘I horrify you.

” Katie Mrs. Ansley is a sophisticated woman, but not as high on the social ladder as Mrs. Slade. She married a man inferior to Mrs.

Slade’s husband. Mrs. Slade married well and holds herself higher than Mrs. Ansley. “She [Mrs. Ansley] was evidently far less sure than her companion of herself and her rights in the world. ” (p. 352.

) Mrs. Slade is also arrogant and eager to put down Mrs. Ansley in the most subtle ways possible. “And I was wondering… how two such exemplary characters as you and Horace had managed to produce anything so dynamic.

” (p. 356) Mrs.Ansley seems superior when she takes Mrs.

Slade’s criticism with composure and poise. She ultimately seems superior when she states: “But I didn’t wait. He’d arranged everything. He was there. We were let in at once.

” (p. 361) Whether Mrs. Ansley is lying about Delphin’s meeting her or not, she has wit and dexterity coming up with the story, and does not tell her story with an egotistical attitude. Bailey Ansley — Is not of the same high social status, and seems to be less exaggerated and more blunt: “Mrs. Ansley was much less articulate than her friend, and her mental portrait of Mrs.Slade was slighter, and drawn with fainter touches. ‘Alida Slade’s awfully brilliant; but not as brilliant as she thinks.

Though she did not end up marrying Delphin, she seems to be satisfied with her life, especially because she has a daughter from Delphin, who is spunky and brilliant. She also comments on how she had her memory of “the night” and now how that was enough to keep her happy. Slade — “Mrs.

Slade’s black brows drew together, as though references to the moon were out of place and even unwelcome. ” Paragraph 21 goes into etail about how she feels about herself: “She had always regarded herself as his [her husband’s] equal in social gifts, as contributing her full share to the making of the exceptional couple they were..

. ” There seems to be more reflection on Mrs. Slade and how she feels about herself and how others perceive her. Mrs. Ansley begins to look the superior person when they begin discussing the letter: she thinks about sending an answer back and comes across as much more organized.

She also gets the upper leg in the argument because Delphin really did love her and she has a daughter to prove it. Mrs.Slade says: “After all, I had everything: I had him for twenty-five years. And you had nothing but that one letter hat he didn’t write. ” Mrs. Ansley then replies: “I had Barbara.

” For Ansley, Delphin was less of an image, he was her true love, and the fact that he went to see her even though he was engaged shows that the feelings were mutual. Jamie Grace Ansley is a character of modesty and reservation. She does not intentionally belittle others to make her feel dominant, and instead remains content in the scheme of day to day life. At one point in the story she says, “It will always be, to me,” which is followed by a thought by Mrs.

Slade: “so slight a stress on the ‘me. ” While Grace does have a subtle feeling of secrecy and power behind her (me), she does not further explain or divulge any feelings as to what is behind “me”; she continues to be humble in her thoughts and words. Alida Slade is quite different. She is very conceited, looking down on others with amusement. She is always thinking of how much better she is than her friend Grace, how she is classy, and of how others are jealous of her. She is marked by a sense of superiority. Such thoughts and remarks as, “she had always regarded herself [Alida] (with a certain conjugal pride),” (p.

1) “it did the irreproachable no harm to laugh at them a little,” (p 19) and “‘What, that handsome woman with good clothes and eyes is Mrs. Slade — the Slade’s wife? Really? Generally the wives of celebrities are such frumps,'” (p. 21) help to characterize Alida as superior. This dominance continues until Mrs. Ansley reveals that she in fact met the husband that night, at which time Mrs.

Ansley assumes ascendancy. Kathryn Mrs. Slade is initially characterized as the superior of the two, because she is apparently more self-assured, intelligent, and shrewd than Mrs. Ansley. Mrs.Ansley is described as “far less sure than her companion of herself and of her rights in the world.

” Mrs. Ansley’s mannerisms appear to be more docile and submissive than Mrs. Slade’s, in that Mrs. Ansley gives her friend “shy” glances, and “furtively” draws out her knitting.

Because she seems to seek her companion’s approval, Mrs. Ansley is the lower-status character at the beginning of the story. Mrs. Slade’s private criticisms of Mrs.

Ansley enhance the feeling that she is more dominant. When Mrs. Slade passes judgement on Mrs. Ansley with thoughts such as: “‘She can knit — in the face of this! How like her.

.. , it gives the reader the impression that she is better, and therefore qualified to scorn her friend. Immediately when Mrs. Slade begins to talk about the letter however, the tables of status turn. When Mrs. Slade thinks to herself: “I shouldn’t have thought she had herself so well in hand,” it indicates that she no longer feels that she controls the situation. It hints that perhaps Mrs.

Ansley has a hidden source of self-worth that Mrs. Slade, with her outward facade of arrogance and self-importance, lacks. 2. What is the meaning of the comment about “the wrong end of [the] little telescope” (paragraph 24)?How is that comment a suitable conclusion for the first part of the story? Kirsten The comment implies that while both women judge one another because each believes that she understands the true nature of her friend, they actually have no idea: their perspective of one another is skewed, like looking, “through the wrong end of her little telescope” (p. 355). This is comment is a suitable conclusion for the first part because the section deals with, “how little they knew each other” (p. 353).

Kelsey Each woman seems to view herself as so much better than the other.Thus they are making the good qualities of the other look miniscule compared to their bad traits. When a person looks through the wrong end of the telescope all the beauty they would normally be enlarging, is shrunk and overlooked. Both women feel as if they know the entire situation: however, this comment points out that that may not be the case. By ending in such a way, the author is showing that the way in which the two women categorize each other is by pointing out all the negatives, and thus it may be misleading.

Wharton is demonstrating the little knowledge that each woman actually has on the situation. KatieThe comment refers to each of the women’s perspectives. They view each other with a skewed point of view or through “the wrong end of [the] little telescope. ” Each woman sees only the part she wants to see in her lunch date and not the entire character. It is suitable for the ending part of the first story because it concisely summarizes the point of the first section: The women see each other with a narrow and selective point of view. Bailey When a person looks through the wrong end of a telescope, instead of making the image larger, the image becomes very small and it becomes difficult to see the details of what the person is looking at.

Both these women only know their points of view about the other, and because they only know what they believe: their focus on the other is narrowly defined. The comment shows that behind the story of these two women, there is much they don’t know about each other or about the truth. Jamie The comment means that the ladies are viewing one another wrongly. They are using a “little telescope” which cannot see as deeply or far into things as a large one, and they are looking at it through the wrong end; they are seeing things out of proportion or from the incorrect perspective.The comment proves to be a suitable ending because the two ladies have just given descriptions of one another which, one can deduce from the comment, are false or not really true. It implies that something is going to happen that will reveal the true essence of the two.

The comment might also play into the fact that it is turning into night time and the moon, which sheds light upon secrets/truth, is coming out and will be viewed through the correct end of their telescopes. Kathryn “The wrong end of the telescope” reveals the women’s strategy of judging and minimizing one another in order to live carefree, self-assured ives. Each looks down upon the other; Mrs. Slade from her pedestal of having written the letter, tricked her friend, and married the man that they both loved, Mrs. Ansley from the security of Delphin’s love, evidenced by Barbara.

Each believes that she was ultimately victorious, and is therefore able to regard the other from a detached, distant perspective. 3. Trace the revelation of the animosity that Mrs. Slade feels for Mrs.

Ansley. Is Mrs. Ansley doing anything on this evening to provoke her envy? Why has Mrs. Slade always harbored negative feelings about her friend? Kirsten The animosity Mrs.

Slade feels for Mrs. Ansley is created by feelings of envy towards her. Mrs. Slade says: “I was afraid; afraid of you, of your quiet ways, your sweetness” (p. 360): it is from this insecurity that Mrs. Slade’s envy and negative feelings originate.

When she learns that Mrs. Ansley fell for her false letter, Mrs. Slade feels superior because she believes that she successfully tricked and humiliated her friend; she also experiences hatred towards her since Mrs. Ansley betrayed her. While Mrs. Ansley does not actually do anything to provoke Mrs. Slade’s envy, Alida can’t help but want to hurt Mrs.

Ansley because of years of dark feelings she has felt for her. Kelsey Mrs. Ansley provokes Mrs.

Slade by denying how she caught Roman Fever. This upsets Mrs. Slade because she has a need to feel dominant over Mrs.

Ansley; however, in this situation she feels dominated, thus a feeling of hostility arises towards Mrs. Ansley.? Negative feelings have been harbored by Mrs. Slade for the last twenty years because she cannot get past the idea that her husband and Mrs. Ansley were once in love. Katie The animosity that Mrs. Slade feels for Mrs.

Ansley has been brewing inside of her for nearly twenty five years.She is distraught that Mrs. Ansley and her deceased husband were once lovers and had an affair while they were engaged.

On this specific night in Rome Mrs. Ansley has done nothing to trigger Mrs. Slade’s anger, but her past actions cannot be erased. Bailey Mrs. Slade thought to herself: “I must make one more effort not to hate her. ” (p.

357) This animosity first began when they were younger and were in love with the same man and because both of them knew this, it created early anger and jealousy. I have the feeling that Mrs. Ansley felt less animosity because she gained something special in her life, where as I think Mrs.

Slade is a lot more angry because she was the one engaged and felt that this woman was taking her man. Their hostility continues to grow when Mrs. Slade tells Mrs. Ansley that she had written the letter and as new information about that night comes forward. Jamie Mrs. Slade’s animosity first festers in her condescending description of Mrs.

Ansley. There is a slight hint of dislike and contempt for her friend. But the real exposure of Mrs. Slade’s loathing of Mrs. Ansley comes in the second part of the book when Mrs.

Ansley replies to Mrs. Slade with little care. Mrs.Slade thinks, “she can knit — in the face of this! How like her,” and begins to bring forth her hate, jealously, and envy for Mrs. Ansley. Mrs. Ansley unintentionally provokes Mrs.

Slade by being casual and almost nonchalant in her answers. This angers Mrs. Slade because she knows Mrs. Ansley’s secret and wants her to tell the truth. Mrs. Slade has always harbored negative feelings because she knows Mrs. Ansley loved her husband. Kathryn Mrs.

Slade’s envy of Mrs. Ansley originates from their common love of Delphin. Mrs.

Slade’s attributes seem to be her intelligence and vigor, whereas Mrs.Ansley was exceptionally beautiful as a girl. Mrs. Slade was evidently envious of Mrs.

Ansley’s looks and threatened by their influence, because she reacted harshly when she learned that Mrs. Ansley was in love with her fiance’. Because she believes that nothing happened between her husband and Mrs. Ansley, Mrs. Slade’s envy lies in her perception of the qualities of Mrs. Ansley that she herself lacks. When Mrs Ansley reveals that her love for Delphin still exists, Mrs. Slade’s jealousy is renewed because she perceives that once again, Mrs.

Ansley possesses something that she lacks. Mrs.Slade’s relationship with her husband seems to have been one of service; more of a job or position than a union of true love. Mrs. Slade is jealous that Mrs.

Ansley has a romantic, if distant and unrealistic, relationship with her husband that she never did. 4. What purpose is served by the discussion of the different meanings of Rome to mothers and daughters of different generations (paragraphs 29-31)? What standards of behavior have changed from one generation to the next? What standards have remained the same? How does this discussion expand the meaning of the title of the story? KirstenThis discussion explores the way that Rome has changed in its meaning to the different generations. Rome was first characterized by an actual illness — a danger that mothers had to protect their daughters from.

With then next generation, it was only a, “sentimental danger… ” (p. 355), while with Mrs. Slade and Mrs. Ansley’s daughters it is no longer a hazard, only something remembered by the earlier generations.

With the first generation, daughters were protected; with the next, they rebelled from protection, and with the present generation, they are no longer in need of shelter.While Mrs. Slade’s and Mrs. Ansley’s daughters go out with boys into the city like their mothers did, they are different from them since when Alida and Grace were young, they lived, “with such beauty calling us, and the spice of disobedience thrown in” (p. 356). The title of the story is not meant to necessarily describe the illness, Roman Fever, which was feared by the first generation, but rather the “fever” that infects each generation with a purpose and a feeling that is symbolic of the time.

KelseyIt shows how each generation acts the same at similar ages and how with time mothering has become less protective. The Grandmas had to protect their daughters from Roman Fever, the next generation was highly protective of their child’s actions, and now the girls have no worries. Mothering has become easier over time; however the girls are missing out on experience the rush of emotions that come with sneaking around.? The title “Roman Fever” describes a time in which mothers had to be extremely protective and how still their daughters managed to defy their wishes.? Mrs.Ansley became sick it due to a lustful relationship in which she sneaked around, and now neither girl will be able to experience anything similar. Katie From their grandmothers’ generation to their daughters’ generation standards have become less strict.

The two women’s daughters are parading around Rome with young men unguarded, while during their grandmothers’ era they were terrified of Roman Fever. Once the disease had faded it was harder for mothers to keep control of their daughters. The purpose of this discussion is to show the progression of their societal customs compared to their daughters’ customs now.Bailey To show the differences of generations, and by doing so we see how life has changed and are shown how life was when these two women were younger. The grandmothers had to watch out for Roman Fever; the mothers (Mrs. Slade and Mrs.

Ansley) had sentimental dangers, and the daughters wanted to be out on the town. Yet these three generations were caught in the folds of Rome. Though Roman Fever is a cold, in this story it can expand to include the idea that all of these women were captured into the rush and life of Rome and the romantics.Mrs. Slade and Mrs. Ansley discuss how part of the fun of Rome is lost to their children because they don’t have the same rush from breaking rules, because they can go off with the aviators, without having to disobey their parents. Mrs. Slade and Mrs.

Ansley believed that part of the “Roman Fever” and what made Rome so fun was the disobedience. Jamie I think the discussion serves to show that the meaning of Rome is different among mothers and daughters just as it is among individuals; To Mrs.Ansley it is a place of cherished memory where she met with her true love, while Mrs. Slade views it as a place of justice and vengeance. It is a place where she thwarted her friend. The discussion also shows the dangers of Rome and the changes it has been through. The standards of behavior have changed in that people are free to roam and be more careless, without having to worry about the presence of a harmful disease or ailment. Still the mothers have to show some kind of protection for their daughters.

The discussion expands the meaning of the title of the story by implying Roman Fever was a good thing in that it kept girls at home but, when it went away, it opened up a whole new dangerous realm of other things (like adultery). Kathryn The meanings of Rome to mothers and daughters of different generations reveal sources of danger that change as society evolves. As the historical stage for important, often romantic events, Rome’s most immediate danger was death. As this threat became obsolete, the dangers of love became apparent to younger generations.

Immediately categorized as less harmful than a fever, “sentimental dangers” were actually just as dangerous in that they drew children away from home, where injury could befall them without parental knowledge. Following this stage, children came to recognize no danger in the streets of Rome, and therefore began to travel even farther outside their parents’ jurisdiction. The danger of this is probably equal to that of the other two stages in that parents cease even to care or worry about the welfare of their children, under the assumption that no dangers exist.During every generation, the two main threats were love and illness; but the eminence of one or the other varied. “Roman Fever” could be literally interpreted as the name of a disease, but could also signify the perils of love, “Fever” indicating passion. When they first appear in the story, Mrs. Slade and Mrs.

Ansley seem indistinguishable, “two Ameriacan ladies of ripe but well cared for mid-age”. Mrs Slade of richer and darker coloring, seem robust and full of sell confidence, while Mrs Ansley “smaller and paler” initialy seem modest and retiring, the opposite of her companion.As the tall progress, their distinct personalities emerge and govern their interaction. Mrs Slade believe her life has been one of great social import as the wife of the Succesfull Delphin Slade. Now that her husband has died, Mrs Slad had title role to pay and fear that she will be forgotten in circles that matter. To measure her our success, she has compared herself to Mrs Ansley throughout their adult lives, always pereceiving her self to be the better, happier women.

She pities Mrs Ansley for the question of her life and believes that she has missed out on the exciting opportunities Mrs Slade has enjoyed. The one point of comparison that fails to bring Mrs Slade crearly wants to see competition with Mrs Ansley continue in to the next generation, but she feel frushtrated that her own Jenny is no match for Mrs Ansley’s Barbara. Mrs Ansley, on the other hand, appears reserved and retiring, not one to seek the limelight or public notice.

She seem to have thought little about Mrs Slade, even thought for years they lived across the street from each other.She has a quite confedence about her and an appreciation of her daughter that suggests that Barbara’s social ease dirives from her mother’s affirmation. The narrative reveals that what has sustained Mrs Ansley through the year in the secret she has kept, the truth about her meeting with Delphin Slade and Barbara’s paternity. Free of the anxieties that plague Mrs Slade, Mrs Ansley has never felt the need to use her knowledge to score a point in their competition. Not until pressed to her limit does Mrs Ansley land the blow that ends the contest

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