Thesis: Wharton uses actions and expressions, descriptions of the physical world around her characters, and lighting as a third character to convey more about their experiences then relying on dialogue alone. Topic Sentence



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In her story, Roman Fever, Edith Wharton introduces the reader to two characters that have un-expectantly reunited in Rome soon after both characters husbands have passed away. This is a story of love, lust, life, and the history behind it. The reader is lead down a path of actions and reactions that end up having each woman re-evaluate their past, thus giving new insight into their lives. Wharton uses images of Rome, and specifically Roman ruins, to symbolize the past of her protagonist, Mrs. Slade. The actions and symbolism Wharton uses throughout the story gives the reader insight, into the past of each character, thus painting a vibrant picture of human emotion and raw life. Furthermore, the truth in her characters lives faces them in the form of Rome and it is through their actions that the characters bring to light a silent battle between themselves in the dark skies of the roman night.

Accordingly, the reader is able to get a better understanding of what Wharton intended to convey in the story by analyzing the non-verbal expressions as well as the surroundings and there effects on the characters. More, specifically, the reader is lead into the minds of the characters by analyzing their reactions to the roman landscape. Wharton uses actions and expressions, descriptions of the physical world around her characters, and lighting to convey more about their experiences then relying on dialogue alone. Throughout this essay, I will explore the author’s use of non-verbal queues and actions, setting symbolism, and lighting.



OUTLINE
Thesis: Wharton uses actions and expressions, descriptions of the physical world around her characters, and lighting as a third character to convey more about their experiences then relying on dialogue alone.


  1. Topic Sentence: Wharton’s use of actions and expressions convey to the reader a deeper understanding of the dynamic between her characters.




    1. Mrs. Slades

      1. Mrs. Slade's black brows drew together, as though references to the moon were out of place and even unwelcome.” (Wharton, __ )

      2. The author shows the reader through the movement of Mrs. Slades brow that there is something that bothers Mrs. Slade about the reference to a full moon night.

      3. This expression by Mrs. Slade suggests to the reader that there are underlying issues with night that Mrs. Slade has never dealt with. This is something that the reader will find is linked to the problem at hand.




    1. Ansley’s knitting

      1. Mrs. Ansley's hands lay inert across her needles. She looked straight out at the great accumulated wreckage of passion and splendor at her feet” (Wharton, __ )



    1. Closing Sentence: Thus, the non-verbal ques Wharton uses throughout allows the reader insight into the minds of the character to see what distracts their attention and conversely what holds it and why.




  1. Topic Sentence: Secondly, the symbolism of the city landscape brings emotions or thoughts to Wharton’s characters.




    1. Mrs. Slade’s sitting in meditation looking at the ruins perhaps thinking of her past

      1. Mrs. Slade sat quite still, her eyes fixed on the golden slope of the Palace of the Caesars, and after a while Mrs. Ansley ceased to fidget with her bag, and she too sank into meditation. Like many intimate friends, the two ladies had never before had occasion to be silent together, and Mrs. Ansley was slightly embarrassed by what seemed, after so many years, a new stage in their intimacy, and one with which she did not yet know how to deal.” (Wharton, ___)

      2. Discussion of what this tells us




    1. Warton’s depiction of the ruins and how they relate to what the reader knows of Mrs. Slade’s life

      1. Mrs. Slade leaned back, brooding, her eyes ranging from the ruins which faced her to the long green hollow of the Forum, the fading glow of the church fronts beyond it, and the outlying immensity of the Coliseum” (Wharton, ___)

      2. Discussion of what this tells us




    1. Mrs. Ansley now looks away from slade and at the dusky mass of the coliseum is a representation of Ansley thinking of her past

      1. Mrs. Ansley stood looking away from her toward the dusky mass of the Coliseum.” (Wharton, ___)

      2. Discussion of what this tells us




    1. Closing Sentence: Therefore, the city landscape represents something different to each character and can be used to look inside of each.



  1. Topic Sentence: Finally, lighting is used to convey a countdown to conflict.



    1. The representation of moonlight and it’s relation to sentiment it holds for each woman




      1. Moonlight—moonlight! What a part it still plays. Do you suppose they're as sentimental as we were?" (Wharton, ___)

      2. Discussion of what this tells us




    1. The sun is beginning to set and yet Ansley continues to distract her self with knitting still unable to face her past.

      1. The long golden light was beginning to pale, and Mrs. Ansley lifted her knitting a little closer to her eyes. "Yes, how we were guarded” (Wharton, ___)

      2. Discussion of what this tells us




    1. The depiction of night sets the stage for the conflict between the two women

      1. Her gaze turned toward the Coliseum. Already its golden flank was drowned in purple shadow, and above it the sky curved crystal clear, without light or color. It was the moment when afternoon and evening hang balanced in midheaven.” (Wharton, ___)

      2. Discussion of what this tells us




    1. Closing Sentence:



  1. Conclusion:




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