Code Orange

By: Caroline B. Cooney

What is Small Pox?

Small Pox is a infectious disease that spreads rapidly. Before the vaccine was discovered all small pox victims perished. "Prior to the vaccination, 400,000 smallpox deaths occurred in a routine year in Europe..." (Cooney 92). That proves that thousands of people died from this atrocious disease. A person can be living with variola major without even knowing they have it. "Twelve to fourteen days before a person is infectious, thought Mitty" (Cooney 93). The "pimples or bumps" start to appear after that amount of days. The bumps are filled with clear thick fluid. The vaccine was founded by Edward Jenner. He noticed that most milkmaids got a disease cowpox that kept them immune from small pox. Jenner then tested his experiment by infecting people with cowpox that have not yet been infected with small pox. After a week of being infected with cowpox they then infected them with small pox to see if they would get this diease. After realizing his experiment worked all people around the world got this vaccine.

Mitty Blake

The character Mitty Blake in Caroline B. Cooney's novel Code Orange is a very intellectual student. Although Mitty is a very bright student he does not try his hardest in class because he would rather be a rock band reviewer. Mitty felt that to become a rock band reviewer he had to memorize every kind of music out there, so he didn't have time for school. "He certainly didn't have time for books" (Cooney 4).


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

Characterization advances the plot of the story. This is because Mitty is such a caring person. His personality foreshadows the story by being so warmhearted that he would risk his life for the rest of the city. An example to prove this is, " You won't be dancing on my streets." "The boy with no shirt on slept by an open door, the poison seeping out of his body" (193). This shows that Mitty risked his life by opening the furnace where carbon monoxide was leaking to make sure the people that kidnapped him will not be out on the streets of New York City, to hurt anyone else. Another example is, " So. You have it, the smallpox." " Should've done your research, thought Mitty" (192). Mitty realized that he didn't have smallpox and made rashes on himself, so he can lock the men down in the cellar with him and leak the carbon monoxide. He did anything to protect his country because of his personality.



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.

Prasie or Pan?

Code Orange is a suspenseful story with thrill and adventure. I "praise" this novel because the author informed the reader a lot about bioterrorism and small pox. I think its a fantastic idea to inform the world on what some people are capable of. By just reading one book you can learn all about bioterrorism. The novel teaches you how hard life was before we had vaccinations. If Jenner did not figure out that cow pox prevents you from getting small pox, most likely it would still exist. I recommend this book especially to young adults because I feel that most teens don't realize what is actually going on in the world we all live in.