Even the closest, most expressive and trusting of friends may find out later that they know nothing about one another. Their friendship may conceal their true feelings of jealously and resentment. A perfect example of this is in the short story “Roman Fever” by Edith Wharton. Roman Fever is a brilliant rendering of how you may think you know a person, but in time their true colors are revealed.
Mrs. Slade and Mrs. Ansley are lifelong friends thrown into intimacy by circumstance instead of truly enjoying each other’s company. They go on a vacation to Rome, and while there they figure out they really do not know one another. While their daughters are gone for the day, Mrs. Slade and Mrs. Ansley wile away the day overlooking ruins and reflecting on their past.
Mrs. Slade and Mrs. Ansley first met when they were young ladies on vacation with their families to Rome. Mrs. Slade and Mrs. Ansley have parallel lives in the fact that they grew up in the same New York neighborhood however, Mrs. Slade in particular strongly dislikes Mrs. Ansley because of Mrs. Ansley’s love for Delphin Slade.
Mrs. Slade gets so jealous of Mrs. Ansley that she writes a letter supposedly from her husband to Grace asking to meet up in the beginning of the novel. Alida’s letter gives her the vindictive gratification she wanted; however later on in the story when Grace has a daughter Alida is then jealous of her. She is envious of Mrs. Ansley’s daughter because she is beautiful and vivacious, while her own daughter is too responsible causing her to be boring. Mrs. Slade analysis every part of Mrs. Ansley’s being, and puts herself above Mrs. Ansley. Alida does anything she feels is necessary to benefit herself first, and once her husband makes it big towards the end of the story, she is delighted she can move away from Grace.
While on their vacation, Grace Ansley and Alida Slade figure out their mental portraits of one another are...