Roman Fever Topics for Further Study
by Edith Wharton

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Topics for Further Study

(Short Stories for Students)

Investigate the effects of malaria in the early 20th century and how scientists have worked to combat this life-threatening disease.

What can you determine about the role of wealthy Americans in the early 20th century? What social position did they occupy? How would you define their position abroad?

Conduct research on the Roman ruins mentioned in the story. What role do you think their history and presence have in the unfolding drama?

Read one of Edith Wharton's novels, such as The House of Mirth or The Age of Innocence. How do the characters and the social framework in the novel compare to those in "Roman Fever'' ?

Although ‘‘Roman Fever’’ was written in the 1930s, it is set in the mid-1920s. Which decade does the story more accurately reflect? What changes took place in society between these two periods?

An opera was based on ‘‘Roman Fever.’’ Pick another art form, such as a play, a musical, or a mural. How would this art form depict the themes, actions, and characters of ‘‘Roman Fever’’?

Imagine that you are a literary critic. How would you assess "Roman Fever'' in terms of artistic composition and message? (Be sure to use the text to support your argument.) Create an outline for your essay.