How did the relationship between Mrs. Slade and Mrs. Ansley change by the end of "Roman Fever"? And how did the last six paragraphs of the story show this change?

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Mrs. Slade and Mrs. Ansley have never had a close relationship. They lived across the street from one another, but there has always been animosity between them, although unspoken, so in a way, the tense, unhealthy relationship between the two was only brought to the forefront by the revelations by...

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Mrs. Slade and Mrs. Ansley have never had a close relationship. They lived across the street from one another, but there has always been animosity between them, although unspoken, so in a way, the tense, unhealthy relationship between the two was only brought to the forefront by the revelations by both women in the last few paragraphs.

The two women are very different from one another, obviously, so although the revelations by both women will, no doubt, change the relationship, it was never a healthy or close one to begin with. The two seemed to be bonded primarily through their daughters, who are close friends. The underlying tension between the two is evident throughout the story, so the friendship, already being on shaky ground and most likely headed to its demise after their daughters move away, will certainly only now implode.

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The relationship appears to be quite stiff and formal at the outset. But at the same time, we can detect that, beneath the conversational niceties, the relationship between the two women is profoundly unequal. Mrs. Slade is by far the more forceful character of the two. She is assertive and dominant as she lets rip with all the resentment that she has kept contained for so long. Mrs. Slade knows full well that Mrs. Ansley is likely to be hurt by what she says, but she really does not care. All that matters is putting Mrs. Ansley in her place.

But by the end of the story, the worm has well and truly turned. However, Mrs. Ansley, unlike Mrs. Slade, does not need to be aggressively unpleasant to gain the upper hand. All she needs to do is calmly inform the astonished Mrs. Slade of what really happened in Rome all those years ago. Mrs. Slade was foolish enough to rake over old coals, and Mrs. Ansley made her pay for it. It is now the timid, mousy Mrs. Ansley who is firmly on top in this relationship.

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The relationship of the two women in Edith Wharton's "Roman Fever" changes drastically by the end of the story. While Mrs. Ansley and Mrs. Slade are distant and polite at the start, they both seem to be hiding something. As the story progresses, Mrs. Slade goes on the attack because she can't stand it any longer and must tell Mrs. Ansley that she knows what happened many years ago. Mrs. Slade feels she has the upper hand because she wrote the letter that was supposedly from her then fiancé all the while Mrs. Ansley thought it was from him and treasured that memory.

The last six paragraphs of the story, however, change the power dynamic when Mrs. Ansley reveals that she did in fact meet Mr. Slade in secret at the Colosseum in Rome. More than that, though, she had his daughter. The conversation, which has been like a game of chess, comes to a close with Mrs. Ansley the clear winner because her secrets far exceed the superior Mrs. Slade's.

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