ADVANTAGES

But what makes this story interesting is the way James uses illness to figure sexual contamination and social disfavor. Although Daisy eventually succumbs to what was termed "Roman fever," her malaria merely literalizes her supposed infection with a different kind of "fever," which the American expatriates and tourists have already diagnosed--a fever brought on by her apparently "light" (loose) sexual escapades with Italian men. James's story, posed as a case "study," illuminates how our culture imagines sexuality as a kind of disease that, past a certain point, is deemed fatal.

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