Who is the narrator of "Roman Fever" by Edith Wharton?

Quick answer:

The narrator is omniscient, can see and hear the characters' speech and thoughts.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Edith Wharton’s short story “Roman Fever” is written in a third person omniscient point of view. This means that the narrator, and by extension, the readers, can see and hear the characters’ speech, actions, and thoughts.

The enormous impact that point of view has on a reader's interpretation of a story is difficult to understand. For example, imagine if Wharton had opted to tell her tale from the third person limited point of view, giving us only a “fly on the wall” perspective of the characters’ actions and speech. Without access to a plethora of detail provided by the omniscient narrator through comments such as “not many months apart, both ladies lost their husbands,” the reader would be confused and unable to decipher the meaning of much of the conversation.

Similarly, a first-person narrative from, say, Mrs. Ansley’s point of view, would drastically alter a reader's understanding of the characters’ life-histories relayed by Wharton in her story. Considering these examples, I would suggest trying to consider why an author employs a certain point of view in addition to simply identifying it; you will end up with a much more interesting analysis! I hope this provides some food for thought.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The story is told from a third-person, omniscient point of view. This means that readers see and hear what the characters see and hear, and that readers are also privy to their thoughts.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial