I understand that Edith Wharton is famous for creating female figures who are often very unhappy or otherwise living lives of secrets, lies, and quiet desperation. I am having a difficult time explaining how "Roman Fever" fits this pattern as it reveals Wharton's understanding of the place of women in the late nineteenth century.
Here you go - I hope this helps. Good luck!
In "Roman Fever" Edith Wharton creates a scene in which two women "of ripe but well-cared-for-middle age" reflect upon each other, their daughters, and their lives. At first glance the women appear to be old friends, with few worries, well-to-do in style, but little to do in life. The story begins when the young daughters of Mrs. Ashley and Mrs. Slade gallivant off, leaving the two women to evaluate each other, and eventually reveal secrets. Wharton reveals that the two prosperous matriarchs are not simply enjoying the view, as the scene progresses, but also thinking of their past visits to Rome. Mrs. Slade picks up a tinge of something when her friend agrees that the view of the city is the most beautiful in the world to her, with a slight emphasis on the personal connection Mrs. Ashley feels for the city. At first, Mrs. Slade brushes it ...
This solution explains "Roman Fever" and how it reveals Edith Wharton's understanding of women's place in society in the late nineteenth century.