Fever1793 Authors Essay

Fever: 1793 Coming of Age Book Report Essay

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At some point in a person's life, they must make the transition from childhood to adulthood. Many of a persons early life experiences can contribute to this transition, even if it is the simplest of things. Yellow Fever hit Philadelphia hard in 1793. It also hit hard in the book Fever: 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson. In this book, fourteen year-old Mattie Cook?s life gets turned upside-down when Yellow Fever strikes Philadelphia. In her adventure, Mattie must show responsibility, and experience the pain of death before she matures into an adult. In the book, Mattie starts out as a lazy teenager who needs to be told what to do by her over controlling mother, but throughout the story, she becomes more responsible and adult-like. For…show more content…

Soon after being deserted on the road, grandfather comes down with a summer grippe and becomes helpless. Mattie then needs to take care of them both by finding food and water. This shows responsibility because she not only had to take care of herself, but of her grandfather too with no help from anyone, and no one to tell her what to do. Later on the story Mattie experiences her grandfather?s death, which taught her to stand up for herself. After all of the hardships that Mattie and Grandfather faced out on their own, they came back to a Philadelphia very unalike the one they had left, and their coffeehouse home was no different. It was completely robbed of almost everything and shards of glass were everywhere. Although this did not stop two thieves from coming in and killing grandfather when he tried to fight back. Mattie did not take this well however. After Grandfather fainted, she gashed the robber?s shoulder with her granddad?s sword which sent him running down the street with Mattie chasing him close behind. This event clearly shows that Mattie learned to stand up for herself against higher authority, which is a big part of adulthood. Through the events of taking on responsibility and experiencing death, Mattie Cook came of age. Not all teens today may have the experiences that Mattie had, and most likely will not, but they will have to come of age one way or another. Some teens might get a part-time job to earn money, while others might face

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In an intense, well-researched tale that will resonate particularly with readers in parts of the country where the West Nile virus and other insect-borne diseases are active, Anderson (Speak, 1999, etc.) takes a Philadelphia teenager through one of the most devastating outbreaks of yellow fever in our country’s history. It’s 1793, and though business has never been better at the coffeehouse run by Matilda’s widowed, strong-minded mother in what is then the national capital, vague rumors of disease come home to roost when the serving girl dies without warning one August night. Soon church bells are ringing ceaselessly for the dead as panicked residents, amid unrelenting heat and clouds of insects, huddle in their houses, stream out of town, or desperately submit to the conflicting dictates of doctors. Matilda and her mother both collapse, and in the ensuing confusion, they lose track of each other. Witnessing people behaving well and badly, Matilda first recovers slowly in a makeshift hospital, then joins the coffeehouse’s cook, Emma, a free African-American, in tending to the poor and nursing three small, stricken children. When at long last the October frosts signal the epidemic’s end, Emma and Matilda reopen the coffeehouse as partners, and Matilda’s mother turns up—alive, but a trembling shadow of her former self. Like Paul Fleischman’s Path of the Pale Horse (1983), which has the same setting, or Anna Myers’s Graveyard Girl (1995), about a similar epidemic nearly a century later, readers will find this a gripping picture of disease’s devastating effect on people, and on the social fabric itself. (Fiction. 11-13)

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