Fever, 1793

By: Laurie Halse Anderson

Interesting Quotes

  • "I kept my eyes closed, trying to see Polly happy, joking, maybe stealing a kiss with Matthew, then bursting through the door to tell me. It couldn't be real. How could Polly be dead?"

The significance of this line of text is that this is the first death in the book which shocks Matilda because death is still so unreal to her or far away from where she is during her lifetime. It is so surreal for her because Matilda's father passed away recently from a runaway horse and she does not want her servant girl to leave her also.

  • "Some doctors warn we may see a thousand dead before it's over. There are forty-thousand people living in Philadelphia, William. Can you imagine if one in forty were to die?"

The meaning behind this text is that the people in Philadelphia cannot wrap their heads around the idea of an epidemic in their state. It seems that the numbers of the deceased are the only real way to cope with the losing of their loved ones.

  • "There could be no running from this. Hiding from death was not like hiding from Mother when she wanted me to scrub kettles, or ignoring Silas when he begged for food. I was the only one left"
This last quote really personifies death as a real person who is pursuing herself and her family as well. This personification of death seems that Matilda soon will die one day maybe closer than she thinks.

When? Where?

Fever, 1793 took place in Philadelphia, PA in the 1793's. The book was published in 2000.


  • The book was published in 2000
  • Laurie Anderson has written 35 books.
  • She was born on October 23, 1961.
  • She mainly writes children and young-adult novels.
  • She is currently the age of 53.

Historical References

  • Dr. Benjamin Rush was a real person whose philosophies changed the way that many patients were treated.
  • Dr. Jean Deveze was also real, and was the head physician at a hospital for fever victims at Bush Hill.
  • Also Jean Pierre Blanchard was a hot air balloonist who flew into America in January of 1793.
  • They really used to think that colored skin people were immune to the disease and was eventually proven wrong.

Whats Interesting?

This book has many interesting factors but the biggest one would be having actual people in this book who were alive through the epidemic. They themselves had to push threw this struggle which killed 1/6th of the population. The people who were included in this novel were Dr. Benjamin Rush, Dr, Jean Deveze, Jean Pierre Blanchard, Alexander Hamilton and George Washington. This makes the book more interesting because it adds more realistic characteristics to the novel.

Main Conflict? Most important point? Resolution?

Main Conflict: Mattie and her family struggle to fight of the epidemic of Yellow Fever. The family battles to keep everyone alive even though they do have some casualties.

Most important point: That this fever took over many families and caused a lot of stress on the people of that time.

Resolution: Frost finally comes and the market opens back up. Finally Mattie and her mother are re-united.

Was it good? Would I recommend it?

This book really hit home because it did take place in the United States, and also Matilda was a teenager like I am. This put things into perspective by having this young girl go through almost losing her mom and losing her grandfather. She also had to go through this epidemic almost by herself. I would definately recommend this book because it opens your eyes to what could happen to you and your family if an epidemic happens. Also this is very different than many historical books because it is more interesting than the regular text book.
Fever 1793