Symbolism And Symbolism In Roman Fever By Edith Wharton

Decent Essays

The short story, “Roman Fever”, written by Edith Wharton, tells of the two American ladies who had an unexpected meeting in Rome. The two ladies, Mrs. Grace Ansley and Mrs. Alida Slade, were seated in a restaurant at a table where they faced the ruins of the Roman Forum. The setting triggers memories to soon fill the minds of the two women who had spent their younger years living in this very same place. Edith Wharton uses symbolism to characterize the life of lies the girls have lived in to illuminate the naivete of young girls in love.
The title itself is an illusion that becomes symbolic for a young girl’s love . Several centuries ago, Roman Fever was a term given to a deadly strain of malaria that swept across Rome. The disease killed thousands of people and ran ramped for many years. Both the disease and the women share many of the same qualities. For instance, when Mrs. Slade “seemed physically reduced by the blow- as if, when she got up, the wind might scatter her like a puff of dust” after beginning the conversation with Grace about the love letter (paragraph 95). The image symbolizes how a person might feel with the Roman Fever disease. Although no character is ill with the Roman Fever, Wharton reveals how a young girl's love can be like a disease as deadly as malaria.
Wharton chose the title to further display how powerful the stronghold of jealousy was on the two ladies. For example, “You tried your best to get away from me, didn’t you? But you

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