By: Laurie Halse Anderson
Good for you?
- The yellow fever killed 1/6 of the population in the PA area.
- Pierre Blanchard was an actual inventor who flew hot air balloons across the English Channel and over Philadelphia. Throughout the book, Matilda refers to Blanchard's experiments as a source of excitement, hope, and wonder.
- Mosquitos are what scholars are led to believe spread the disease and this book took place during the summer which is when mosquitos are out the most. This is why the disease spread so rapidly.
Quote: “My city, Philadelphia, was wide awake. My heart beat faster and my head cleared. Below the window, High Street teemed with horsemen, carriages, and carts. I could hear Mrs. Henning gossiping on her front stoop and dogs barking at a pig running loose in the street.”
Reasoning: Later on during the book once the fever starts to spread out, the city commotion dies down a lot. There aren’t pigs running around, no busy streets, and there aren’t people yelling everywhere. This is because since the fever is spreading so much, everyone is staying indoors to keep the fever out of their houses.
Quote: "Mother shivered so hard, her teeth rattled. Even with all the blankets in the house on her, she could not warm. She lay under the faded bedding like a rag doll losing its stuffing, her hair a wild collection of snakes on the pillow, her cornflower blue eyes poisoned with streaks of yellow and red. It hurt to look at her."
Reasoning: Matilda witnesses first-hand the effects of the fever on her mother's body. This is very important because it shows how she actually saw how the fever affected someone not just watching everyone in the town dying. She got to see the effects on the body, even though it was on her mother.
Quote: "With every hour that passed, Philadelphia shed the appearance of a ghost city and looked more and more like the capital of the United States. Like a wilted flower stuck in a bowl of water, it drew strength and blossomed. Nathaniel talked about painting the rebirth of the city. I thought he would do a grand job."
Reasoning: This quote shows how the city started to be rebuilt after everything died away. As the fever went around the town, people were all either dying or fleeing. This meant no one was in the town to buy products at the market or even sell to people so everything closed down.