An Ironic Exploitation
Generally speaking, love is something that should not be played with. Most of the time, the weapon used to inflict harm will come back around to the harmer. Talented writers are aware of this concept known as karma. Author Edith Wharton, who experienced many complicated relationships, wrote many short stories with the subtle use of situational irony (“Roman Fever” 299). In the twentieth century short story “Roman Fever,” Edith Wharton employs symbolism and irony to ascertain that the most open of friends often realize that they do not know everything about each other. The author of “Roman Fever,” Edith Wharton, depicts two upper class friends who spent some time in Rome as little girls. The two women, while sitting on a restaurant terrace in Rome, recall events that happened when they were younger. Mrs. Slade, hoping to hurt her friend, reveals the truth about what really happened one night and her true intentions. Mrs. Ansley, upset for a lost memory, retorts, surprising Mrs. Slade with her affair with Mr. Slade and her resulting pregnancy (Wharton 415-426). Through her application of symbolism Wharton signifies that even the closest friendship can conceal feelings of resentment and jealousy. Color is effectively utilized to evoke a feeling of what is to come. Critic Alice Hall Petry asserts, “The complex relationship between Grace and knitting is evident in her first action in the story: ‘Half-guiltily she drew…a twist of crimson silk run through by two fine knitting needles’…The sensuality and forcefulness suggested by her knitting materials will help to render plausible…her capacity to stand up to the vicious taunts of Alida…” (313).The color crimson or red identifies with strong feelings such as love and passion. The needles impaling the silk suggest that Grace’s character has much more to reveal than what is on the surface. Furthermore, Wharton compares their relationship to Rome; to explain, they were once friends but now their...
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