Who are the intended readers of "Roman Fever"? How does the writer introduce readers to the topic, develop ideas, arrange information, conclude the essay? How does the writer use modes such as...

Who are the intended readers of "Roman Fever"? How does the writer introduce readers to the topic, develop ideas, arrange information, conclude the essay? How does the writer use modes such as anecdote, comparison, process, and definition?

Expert Answers
amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You have a lot of questions here.  Wharton typically wrote for the upper class in which she belonged.  Her writing often revealed the ugliness of the upper class and their secrets. This is true for Roman Fever where the women and their families travel often from the USA to Rome and back.

The guarded language is another hint that this story is intended for the educated upper class.  Only they would understand the tensions and the issues within the classes--the debutants and their struggle to marry well (or at least better than their "friends").

The stories they tell are only ones that upper class would be able to experience unless you also experience it in the capacity of a servant to the family.

The topic at hand is the father of the lively daughter who outshines the other girl.  The topic can only be broached after the girls have run off, giggling, and chastising their mothers for knitting and being "old".  The women are left alone to their ghosts and their jealousies.  Their memories and secrets.  The tension builds and finally the power between them shifts as Mrs. Slade (who got the man) is told that the bright and vivacious girl whom she wishes were her own daughter is actually the daughter of Mrs. Ansley and Mr. Slade.  The power of that punch is enough to take all the wind out of her sails.

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Roman Fever

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