In "Roman Fever," what does Mrs. Ansley look like?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You might find it worthwhile to re-read the opening of this classic short story to find the description of Mrs. Ansley. Although at first it is difficult to distinguish between these two old friends, if you read on the narrator explores the differences between them. At the beginning, the similarities between them are emphasised, as both of these women are described as being "two American ladies of ripe but well-cared-for middle age." However, as the story continues, we see that one of the ladies is "smaller and paler" than the other, who is "fuller, and higher in colour, with a small determined nose supported by vigorous black eyebrows." The identification of Mrs. Slade as this "darker" woman therefore means that the "smaller and paler" woman is Mrs. Ansley. Of course, there is an irony in this opening description of the women, as such details would lead us to suspect that Mrs. Ansley is overshadowed by the more impressive Mrs. Slade, whereas this, like so much else in there relationship, is nothing more than a pretense, for Mrs. Ansley shows that she is anything but overshadowed by her friend.


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Roman Fever

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