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Spread In Fever 1793 Essay

Did you know that the yellow fever is estimated to infect 200,000 people a year causing 30,000 deaths. 90% of these deaths are in Africa. In Fever 1793, there is an outbreak of the yellow fever in the newly born country now called the United States of America. The main character, Matilda is very childish and lazy when it comes to work around the house. When her mother is diagnosed with the fever, her whole life and future is filled with fear. After she personally experiences the fever and survives, she starts to accept what is going on around her.

She is still very afraid at this time. After all these hardships, she comes out of this experience as a mature young adult. These four stages have major effect on Mattie’s personality, confidence, work ethic, and her overall life. Mattie’s childish behavior can be spotted from the beginning of the book. For example, on page 2 it states, “I yawned and stretched, then snuggled back onto my pillow. A few more minutes’ rest, that’s what I needed. ” She had very little work ethic and merely did not care. She was always trying to find ways to get out of work.

On page 10, when Grandpa is gone and Polly is missing, Mattie states, “I’d be happy to search for him,’ I offered, ‘I could look for Polly too. ” She tries several times that day to try to get out of work by sleeping in, messing with Silas, and offering to run to the store. Mattie claims if she is going to work hard, she is going to do it to benefit herself. This stage lasts for the first 2 to 6 chapters but can still be seen throughout the beginning of the next stage. Mattie’s childish stage is the shortest shown stage in this book.

As mother begins to show signs of the fever, Mattie is forced to flee the city, filling her life with fear and hysteria. Her fear begins when she sees the fever outbreak around the city. Her fear is truly seen when her mother very weak and sick, but expands much further when she has to leave her mother. This so happens because Mattie is unaware of what is going on and wishes to be with her mother. On page 69, the reading says, “I ran sobbing to the window. Breathing in the fresh air helped calm my stomach. The houses along the street were shuttered tight and dark. I had to help her.

She was depending on me. ” This goes to show that Mattie was very frightened when she was around her mother, but felt it was her duty to stay by her side. Once she was forced to leave, she was filled with other fears like when she got the fever in chapter 13(pages 88-95), or when grandpa says no one was at the coffeehouse when he went back to visit. On page 97, Mattie’s thought wander in saying, “I slept and the fever fired my dreams with terror. ” This phase, fear and hysteria, overlaps the next stage, but starts faintly in chapter eight and increases until about the end of chapter fifteen.

Fear is still present after that but slowly fades as the fever does. This stage was one of the most important stages to the rising and climax of the plot. Mattie finally starts to accept what is going on around her and her fear slowly decreases. The first sign of acceptance is when she survives the fever. She realizes that this is real and there is nothing she can do to stop it. “I did not have any more nightmares, but I always woke confused, thinking I was surrounded by people I knew, instead of sick strangers. ” (page 109) Although Mattie is confused when she wakes up, she soon remembers what is going on.

She has recognized the idea that her world may never be the same. In fact, she starts to help out orphans who are infected by the epidemic. On page 115, Mattie says, “How can I help anyone? I’m just a girl. ” As soon as the words were out of my mouth, || wanted to pinch myself. The first time anyone treats me like a woman and I respond like an infant. ” This is not only where she decides to help others but when she starts to realize how much she has matured. This third stage starts right after she is diagnosed (chapter 14) and technically never ends.

Once she accepted the situation, she never went back to her previous state of denial. However, there was still times where fear filled her mind. Acceptance was a major step to Matilda gaining maturity. Throughout this chaotic experience, Mattie acquired more than just a fatal disease. She gained maturity and work ethic. She shows it a lot once the coffee house opens up again. Mattie even says “I have plenty of ideas. What if we baked small cakes and delivered them to the State House with a handbill advertising our new wares? This proposal would’ve never came out of her mouth before that dreadful experience.

When grandfather dies, Mattie learns to take care of herself. She had no one left until she returned to the coffee house. On page 238, Mattie, talking to her mother, says “I’m fine, I’m fine. Shh. Please don’t cry. Everything is better now. I’m home, you’re home. You don’t have to worry anymore. ” Before, she could barely drag herself out of bed. Now she is caring for orphans, running a coffee shop, and helping her mother regain strength. Maturity, the fourth and final stage of the book, is the most recognizable.

By starting as a childish teenager and ending as a mature young adult, Mattie’s perspective on life shifted entirely through the fever. What started out as a girl who was lazy and careless, soon turned into a girl filled with fear. Once she finally started to accept her experience in the epidemic in Philadelphia, she starts maturing quite quickly. Even her mother, who seems to think Mattie can do nothing right, was very proud of how far Mattie had come. This book taught its reader so much more than just what it was like to be caught up in the yellow fever. It taught leadership, courage, and responsibility.

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