Analysis of Roman Fever
Wharton wrote the story in omniscient third-person point of view, enabling her to reveal the thoughts of the two main characters.
.......The climax occurs when Mrs. Slade reveals what she knows about Mrs. Ansley’s late-night excursion to the Colosseum twenty-five years before to rendezvous with Mrs. Slade’s fiancé, Delphin. Some readers may regard the shocking denouement (conclusion) of the story—revealing that Mrs. Ansley’s daughter is the child of Mrs. Slade’s late husband—as the climax.
The character Mrs. Slade started to talk about another character Mrs. Ansley’s great-aunt’s incident. The fact that their stay at the terrace until the sunset reminded them of the night when Mrs. Ansley went to the Colosseum to meet Mrs. Slade’s fiancé.
1. the moonlight: “the lunacy” and “the craziness”
2. Mrs. Slade’s recall of her great-aunt’s murder of her sister for falling in love with the same guy: Mrs. Slade’s misleading Mrs. Ansley to meet her fiancé in the Colosseum
3. “Mrs. Ansley had always been rather sorry for her (Mrs. Slade)”: Mrs. Ansley had been keeping some secrets behind her friend Mrs. Slade
4. Mrs. Ansley’s saying that “The most prudent girls aren’t always prudent”: a symbol of her immoral affair with Mr.Slade
For a long time they continued to sit side by side without speaking. It seemed as though, to both, there was a relief in laying down their somewhat futile activities in the presence of the vast Memento Mori which faced them.(25)
Mrs. Slade's tone grew easier. "No; I don't. I appreciate her. And perhaps envy you. Oh, my girl's perfect; if I were a chronic invalid I'd—well, I think I'd rather be in Jenny's hands. There must be times... but there! I always wanted a brilliant daughter... and never quite understood why I got an angel instead."(38)
Mrs. Ansley was again silent. At length she took a step toward the door of the terrace, and turned back,...