By: Caroline B. Cooney
What is Small Pox?
Mitty went through many conflicts throughout this novel. He felt the need to keep everything to himself in the story. For example, "What do you know about the smallpox scabs Mitty has?" "I don't even know what a small pox scab is" (Cooney 131). This shows that Mitty didn't even tell his best friend what was going on and that he found the scabs. He thought it would be safer if he kept it to himself and to not worry everyone in the city. Another conflict that Mitty went through was to make sure no one would get infected with Small pox even if he had to die for it. For example, "...not one person in New York gets sick from me." The virus dies with me" (Cooney 118). Mitty was going to commit suicide even though he didn't believe in it just to make sure no one would get sick.
Advancement of the story
The theme also advances the plot of the story. This is because Mitty's friendship with Olivia made him put more effort into school. For an example, " If he wanted to stay in the advanced class with her, he'd better get launched" (8). Mitty started working on his infections disease paper because if he didn't he would get kicked out and not be in the same class with Olivia. Another example is, " ... I'm going up to the library at Columbia Medical to work on my paper, Mitty. Want to come? The history of smallpox is very exciting..."(34). Olivia tries to help Mitty by going to the library, to look at books for his report. She wants to make sure he doesn't get kicked out of the advanced biology class.