What other story by Edith Wharton compares to "Roman Fever" in context of character, plot, setting, symbolism, conflict, point of view, or theme?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One interesting short story that could be used to compare with "Roman Fever" is Wharton's tale entitled "Pomegranate Seed," which is a ghost story. The useful link that can be established between these two tales however is the sudden twist in the ending that surprises the reader. Wharton carefully develops the plot of both of these short stories in order to surprise the reader with the sudden revelation of something. In the case of "Roman Fever," the final sentence of the story reveals that Mrs. Ansley was successful in meeting with Mrs. Slade's husband before Mrs. Slade married and that her daughter was actually the daughter of Mrs. Slade's husband, in spite of her efforts to keep them apart:

"I had Barbara," she said, and began to move ahead of Mrs. Slade toward the stairway.

The sudden revelation of this news and the way that this ends the conversation that these two old ladies have as they look over Rome gives the story a resolution that surprises the reader and shocks them.

In the same way, in "Pomegranate Seed," the ending of the story is shocking to the reader as it is to both Mrs. Ashby and Charlotte, as they discover that Kenneth has disappeared. The reader is left presuming, along with his wife and mother, that Kenneth has disappeared to join his dead wife in her afterlife. This comes with the revelation of the contents of the final letter that Kenneth received, which, although it is not clear, contains phrases and words such as "mine" and "come." Such a twist in the ending is profoundly unsettling for the reader. Both of these short stories can therefore be compared through the way that the carefully constructed plot contains a surprise twist which gives an unexpected ending.

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