Deception Within Friendship Essay

1010 words - 5 pages

When stepping back in ones everyday life to evaluate friendships throughout the course of lifetimes, one can’t help but notice how little is actually know about even the closest of friends. In Edith Wharton’s story "Roman Fever” written in 1934, one discovers how true this statement actually is. Throughout the course of this short story, the reader learns that no matter how long a friendship lasts, it is possible that ones true identity or deepest secrets are often kept hidden. In “Roman Fever”, Wharton effectively uses symbolism, foreshadowing, and irony to portray a lifetime of deception between two intimate friends.
This short story takes place in Rome, which symbolizes something ...view middle of the document...

Ansley and Mrs. Slade’s decaying friendship. Just like the ruins, in the end their friendship collapses.
In like manner, the term Roman fever plays a large part within the foreshadowing in this story. Roman fever is also known as pneumonia, which is something that one of Mrs. Ansley’s Great-aunts had suffered from years ago after being sent by her older sister to collect nightblooming flowers for their dried flower album. The poor girl ended up getting severely ill with Roman fever and ended up dying. Mrs. Slade said the real reason the younger girl was sent out that night, was because she was in love with the same man as her older sister. Mrs. Ansley responded with, "Well, that was the family tradition. They said Aunt Harriet confessed it years afterward”(124). Consequently, Mrs. Ansley was also known by her peers to have come down with Roman fever during her stay in Rome the winter that Alida was engaged to Delphin Slade. As soon as Grace was well again, her mother rushed her off to Florence, where she then married Horace Ansley. Mrs. Slade brought up the quickness of the marriage during their luncheon by saying, “People were rather surprised—they wondered at its being done so quickly; but I thought I knew. I had an idea you did it out of pique—to be able to say you'd got ahead of Delphin and me” (127). This reaction prepares the reader for the reality that Grace had gotten married so quickly because she was pregnant, a truth that Mrs. Slade had not picked up on over all those years.
Roman fever also takes on an ironic role in this short story. Mrs. Slade confronted Mrs. Ansley about her late night sightseeing down at the Colosseum, years back when she had become sicken with Roman Fever. Mrs. Slade asked if she had known the Colosseum had been a meeting place for lovers. When Mrs. Ansley bashfully...

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