Finished Essay (1) - The Curse of a Lifetime

Finished Essay (1) - The Curse of a Lifetime - Jacob...

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Jacob McMillen 1650 English 1102 The Curse of a Lifetime Jealousy. .. a phenomenon so common, yet so counter-productive. L.V. Hanson once said, “Bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.” This holds true for envy as well; indeed, it perfectly captures the essence of jealously. For those who choose to drink this poison, the effects last much longer than the time frame during which their envy is initiated. And nowhere is this truth more evident than as it is revealed in the lives of Mrs. Slade and Mrs. Ansley through the plot, point of view, and dialogue of “Roman Fever” by Edith Wharton. The plot of “Roman Fever” follows a day in the lives of two middle-age, American-born women, Mrs. Slade and Mrs. Ansley, who are enjoying a vacation in Rome. Both are widows and have similar-aged daughters. They have known each other since their teenage years and actually met for the first time in Rome. Both women seem to be somewhat envious of their daughters. While this envy seems to be merely an occasional and fleeting thought, it is apparent that the two mothers resent their daughters “modern idea of Mothers” (Wharton 876). After the mothers overhear their daughters talking about them and the probability that they are currently knitting, Mrs. Ansley “half guiltily [draws] from her handsomely mounted black hand-bag a twist of crimson silk run through by two fine knitting needles” (876). They resent their own predictability. Additionally, they resent the fact that in their prime they were much more beautiful than their daughters, and yet now, their age compared to their daughter's youth puts them in second place. This is evident through the ladies' mental descriptions of each other; both point out that the other, in her youth, was “exquisitely lovely,” “dashing,” or “vivid” (877-878). While this level of jealousy is understandable and probably common on some level, it nonetheless demonstrates the mothers' tolerance of envy, or at least their failure to overcome it. Additionally, it prevents these women from enjoying their life to the fullest. Instead of appreciating the current stage of their life, they are wishing to return to their youth. Once again, this may be a common
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emotion for middle-age women but it robs them of enjoying their life nonetheless. Complimentary to the plot, the point of view used in “Roman Fever” greatly demonstrates the
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This note was uploaded on 05/26/2011 for the course ENGL 1102 taught by Professor Cantremember during the Spring '08 term at UGA.

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Finished Essay (1) - The Curse of a Lifetime - Jacob...

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