What is the resolution of "Roman Fever"?

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

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One of the things I love about this story is that the resolution that Edith Wharton gives us seems not to represent a resolution at all in terms of the external conflict that Mrs. Ansley and Mrs. Slade exhibit. Mrs. Slade of course feels aggrieved at the love that her husband had for her friend, and during the course of this story resurrects their old animosities and jealousies. However, if we look back we note that Mrs. Ansley is strangely silent until the very end, when finally she is able to give an answer to the torrent of her emotion that Mrs. Slade expresses towards her. In response to Mrs. Slade's saying that she "had everything" for twenty five years and that Mrs. Ansley had nothing in return, because she didn't marry Mrs. Slade's husband, Mrs. Ansley ends the story by surprising both us and Mrs. Slade by telling us what precisely she did receive from her relationship with Mr. Slade:

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

Thus it is that the daughter that Mrs. Ansley had was Mr. Slade's child, bringing to light yet another secret in the plot of this excellent story, but, as I pointed out, hardly resolving the conflict between the two central protagonists.

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paulmachk | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

What is the resolution of Roman Fever ?

As the answer above suggests, there may be no resolution at the end of the story, but there does seem to be an alteration in the relationship of the two women. '.... and began to move ahead of Mrs Slade toward the stairway.' The wind has been taken out of Mrs Slade's sails.

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