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Her story interrogates society’s periodic demand for an ultimate return to origins: whether it be racial purification or sexual housekeeping.” (681) 2.“As I see it, Wharton does not align authorial voice with her characters’, but orchestrates the cultural contradictions she foregrounds through narrative voices.Wharton's task is to remember the function of these Roman ruins both as a symbol of Western civilization’s origins and as a place where young American women would go to make love.
But, in fact, is their close friendship a real close one? Ansley twenty five years ago that revealed their true face, true nature as well as marked the collapse in the so-called 'close friendship' of these two main characters.
In the second instance, the story is used as a vehicle for Grace’s aggression against her rival, Alida.
In the third instance, the story is re-appropriated by Alida in order to thwart -- if not kill -- her rival.
It is not until the last surprising sentence of the story that the readers surely affirm that they are not real close friends. As usual, when a triangle love interferes in the relationship between two best friends, they, if not voluntarily withdraw for their friend's happiness, compete in a fair honest way to get their...
See also the current bibliography on short stories and the bibliography on "Roman Fever." The following summaries and quotations provide a sample of the critical perspectives on this story. “Edith Wharton’s “Roman Fever”: A Rune of History.” 50.6 (1988): 681-692.