Many people consider Roman Fever as a story that implies envy and comparison are the constant theme among women and it will be a repeating cycle not matter how society makes progress. However, I think this is the story which demonstrates women’s progress both physically and mentally.
The status of women has raised and women have gained more freedom overtime as we can infer from the story. For different generation, Roman stands for different meaning. “To our grandmothers, Roman fever; to our mothers, sentimental dangers—how we used to be guarded!—to our daughters, no more dangers than the middle of Main street.” For Grace and Alida, “sentiment danger” means dangers of love so that they were not allowed to go out, yet 25 years later, they met again when they were both were travelling in Rome. I consider this is a big progress for women since women could travel around freely to enjoy their lives and to explore the world. And their daughters were even invited by those young Italian aviators to fly to Tarquinia for tea which is a further progress because this indicates that women are welcomed to go out with less limitation. Moreover, the reaction of the head-waiter also implied the raising status of women—“The head-waiter, bowing over her gratuity, assured her that the ladies were most welcome, and would be still more so if they would condescend to remain for dinner”. Especially “the ladies were most welcome” and the gesture “bowing” demonstrate that women are being respected and they have gained certain status in the society. All these above clearly show women’s progress in physical aspect. Women’s progress also shows in mental aspect because women are gradually getting rid of control of men and able to choose their lives. In the story, Harriet and her young sister fell in love with the same person so that Harriet sent her sister to gather a flower which resulted in her sister’s death. Similarly, Grace was in love with Delphin but Alida was engaged with him. Alida’s jealousy led her to forge a letter to lure Grace to the Colosseum that sickened Grace and isolated her from Delphin. Then Grace married Horace Ashley soon after she recovered. Even though she loved Delphin and was pregnant, she could not choose Delphin but to marry another man and kept the secret that Barbara was Delphin’s daughter for 25 years. This is a tragedy for Grace who represented all women in her generation that women didn’t have the right to choose what they truly loved. Twenty-five years later, similar situation happened with Ashley’s and Grace’s daughters again . Barbara and Jenny were both receiving the attention of young men as their mothers did. What’s different was that Barbara and Jenny were the generation that women’s status had raised. Barbara was out to catch the aviator and later then was invited by young aviator to fly to Tarquinia for tea. This indicates that they had much more freedom than their mothers did 25 years ago. I think the author draws a parallel among Harris and her sister, Alida and Grace, and Barbara and Jenny to indicate women’s progress overtime—Harries young sister died for attempting independence, whereas Grace Ansely survives to raise a daughter whose independence exceeds her own. This indicates Barbara and Jenny won’t follow their mothers’ fate and thus they had the freedom to choose and strive for what they want. In sum, the Roman Fever depicts a story among two lifelong female friends which reveal the women’s progress as I’ve just discussed above from physical and mental aspects.