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S: A-Z : FEVER 1793 Josie O'Connell


1: A-Z | F E V E R 1793 | Josie O'Connell

2: A | is for | "Fresh fish fit for the pan"(27).

3: ALLITERATION | This example of alliteration is used in the story as a way to advertise fish in a marketplace. The "f" sound is used repeatedly at the beginning of the words in the sentence.

4: B | is for | "Mary Shewall died soon after of a bilious fever, and one could hardly fault her character"(20).

5: Bilious | Bilious - adjective - suffering from, caused by, or attended by trouble with the bile or liver.

6: C | is for | I believe the climax of Fever: 1793 was the first frost. In Chapter Twenty-six, Philadelphia enjoys the first frost, which will bring the end of the yellow fever. Once this important landmark occurs, people began returning to the city and life is able to continue as the epidemic is over. In 1793, nobody understood that the frost killed the mosquitoes that carried the fever.

7: CLIMAX | "I was cold. Truly cold, not cold with a fever or grippe. I sneezed and bent to look closely at the white veil that lay over the weeds. Frost" (210).

8: D | is for | The resolution of Fever: 1793 largely occurs in the Epilogue. We learn that Mattie has taken on adulthood and is waking up before everyone else, which we know is different that before, when she despised waking up early. Mattie prepares herself for the day of work ahead of her and also helps prepare for everyone else in the home when they wake. Then she thinks about how the fever has affected her and the lives of hundreds of people throughout Philadelphia.

9: Denouement | It was important that this part be included in the story because it showed how Mattie has changed throughout this epidemic. It showed how she changed from being a girl to being a woman. It also wrapped up the book very well by telling how the rest of Philadelphia was doing. | "There were many tables with empty places or invalids who had once been as strong as horses, but the sun continued to rise. People filled the street each day. On Sunday the church bells rang. Philadelphia had moved on"(243).

10: E | is for | Eliza is the cook of the Cook Coffeehouse. She is a freed black slave who moved up north and began working at the coffeehouse to pay for her husband's freedom, but he died when Mattie was eight. She is Mattie's best friend. | Eliza is a round, static character. We know a lot about her, and she never changes the way she acts and thinks.

11: ELIZA | "Eliza was the luckiest person I knew...She told stories even better then Grandfather, and she knew how to keep a secret. She laughed once when I told her she was my best friend, but it was the truth"(9).

12: F | is for | "And we could reserve a space to sell paintings, and combs, and fripperies from France"(38).

13: Fripperies | Fripperies - noun - finery in dress, especially when showy, gaudy, or the like

14: G | is for | Captain William Farnsworth Cook of the Pennsylvania Fifth Regiment is Mattie's grandfather; the father of her father. He was a proud soldier who served under General George Washington, and now runs the Cook Coffeehouse with Lucille. Mattie describes him as "the heart of all gossip and tall tales." He ventures out to the country with Mattie.

15: Grandfather | Grandfather is a static, round character. He does not change the way he lives, and we know a lot about his past and his service under General George Washington. | "But he's such a strong man. Imagine, a man his age carrying someone like you all that distance"(99).

16: h | is for | "The world out there has turned upside down"(134).

17: Hyperbole | Hyperbole is an over-exaggerated statement. It is used here to express how the city has completely changed, and in this example it is changed for the worse. It has gotten manic.

18: I | is for | I think the inciting incident of Fever: 1793 is in Chapter Two. In this chapter, the Cook Coffeehouse serving girl is very late for work. Lucille goes to find Polly, and unfortunately discovers that she is dead. She was one of the first to die of the fever. This part of the story introduces the problem presented by the fever, and starts the deaths that will eventually lead Mattie out of the city.

19: Inciting Incident | "It happened quickly. Polly sewed by candlelight after dinner...And then she collapsed...Matilda, Polly's dead"(12-13).

20: J | is for | The men in Fever: 1793 like to bicker about Jefferson leaving his position. More importantly, Jefferson fled the city when the fever struck for protection, returning in the mornings, but not daring to stay through the night. | Thomas Jefferson fled from Philadelphia in 1793 to escape the yellow fever epidemic that was then raging. He left with twenty thousand others, which was about 40% of the population. A lot of the people who left the city were, like Jefferson, part of the federal government.

21: Jefferson

22: K | is for | The parrot in this book is named after King George, the British King that George Washington had lead the colonists away from shortly before the book took place. | George lived from June 4th 1738 to January 29th, 1820. He is often remembered as "The Mad King" and "The King Who Lost America". He lived and reigned longer than any other monarch before him. Near the end of his life he suffered from a mental illness.

23: King George

24: L | is for | Lucille is the mother of Mattie Cook and runs the Cook Coffeehouse with her father-in-law. Mattie describes her mother as sour. Lucille is a busy woman who is always doing something, and often is nagging Mattie. Mattie and Lucille share a rocky relationship at the beginning of the book. They often get on one another's nerves, but quietly love each other.

25: Lucille Cook | Lucille is a round character. We know a lot of information about her. She is also a static character. She physically changes throughout the book and becomes weaker, and that affects her life, but she can not help that. | "My father had been dead for two years, so Mother knew what lay in Eliza's heart...It took years, but the smile slowly returned to Eliza's face. She didn't turn sour like Mother did"(9).

26: M | is for | None of the historical events in Fever: 1793 would have occurred if the mosquito hadn't shown up in Philadelphia. | In the book, doctors are frantically searching for a way to prevent and/or cure yellow fever. The reason a cure could not be found was because they weren't sure what was causing the fever. The doctors thought it was bad coffee, bad water, and bad air. The real source of yellow fever was the infected mosquitoes coming from Haiti on boats. Dr. Walter Reed discovered that it was the female mosquito, Aedes aegypti, in 1902. A vaccine was developed in the 1930s.


28: N | is for | After Grandfather dies, Mattie wanders around Philadelphia, and tries to go to the marketplace only to discover that it was empty. She was left alone and with no food.

29: No Market | Most people in the city during this time period got their victuals from the marketplace. Farmers would pack up their items and go into the city to sell them. But when the yellow fever epidemic occurred, farmers were too scared to go into the city. Now, everyone who depended on the marketplace was, like Mattie, left helpless and hungry. Some neighboring towns donated food and other supplies to the people of Philadelphia, but many were still hungry.

30: O | is for | Onomatopoeia words are words used to express sounds. In this example, bong is used to imitate the sound of a bell.

31: Onomatopoeia | "Bong. Bong. Bong. The bell at Christ Church tolled heavily"(32).

32: P | is for | Matilda Cook, nicknamed Mattie, is the main character of the story and she also narrates it. Mattie is fourteen years old and works for her mother at her family's coffeehouse. Her best friend is Eliza. She is an ambitious girl who has her future planned out, and it is much larger than how she lives now. She will own an entire city block. She wants to be treated like a woman and be called "ma'am." Mattie Philadelphia. She calls it her city.

33: Protagonist | Mattie is a round character. We know a lot about her. She is a dynamic character. She makes the transition from child to woman in this book. | "Blanchard had flown that remarkable balloon...I vowed to do that one day, slip free of the ropes that held me"(4-5).

34: Q | is for | Eliza is able to be free in Philadelphia because the Quakers there do not hold slaves and try to convince others slavery was wrong.

35: Quakers | The Quakers were a small Christian denomination that began in th 1650s in England. It was formed to begin worship that was not ritualized. The Quakers were formally known as the Religious Society of Friends. When the Quaker religion went overseas to America, it settled in Georgia. It moved north when they could no longer compete with the cotton plantations, which had slaves working on them. The Quakers were anti-violence and anti-slavery.

36: R | is for | "She was a healthy girl, robust"(15).

37: Robust | Robust - adjective - strong and healthy; hardy; vigorous

38: S | is for | Using the phrase "arms as heavy as lead" makes a comparison. In this example, an arm and lead are being compared. Lead is heavy, and Mattie is saying that her arm feels heavy (like lead) because she is so tired.

39: Simile | "My arms felt as heavy as lead from carrying the trays"(22).

40: T | is for | "I leapt from my bed, and - thunk! - cracked my head on the sloped ceiling"(2).

41: "THUNK"! | When Mattie hits her head, the sound she hears sounded like "thunk," so she uses that word to describe it.

42: U | is for | As a girl in 1793, Mattie wears different clothing than girls nowadays do. | Stays

43: Undergarments | Stays are basically a corset. They are used to hold the torso in a desirable shape. A shift is a simple garment worn next to skin to protect from sweat and oils. Stockings are also called hose, and they are worn on the legs and feet for both fashion and warmth.

44: V | is for | "If not for Eliza's fine victuals, and the hungry customers who paid to eat them, we'd have been in the streets long ago" (8).

45: VICTUALS | Victuals - noun - food supplies; provisions

46: W | is for | Mattie says that the reason the coffeehouse got popular at all is because President Washington's House moved just down the block.

47: Washington's House | Before Washington even became president, Congress moved from cities in Maryland to cities in Pennsylvania to cities in New Jersey. Washington was inaugurated at the capital in New York City. People in the south were upset about the capital being so up north, so there was a lot of intense discussion about where the capital should be. A logical location was found, and was going to be made a federal district, so no state was more important than another. Philadelphia was a temporary home for the capital from 1790 to 1800. Then the government moved to the current capital in Washington D.C.

48: X | is for | In the beginning of the story, even before we learn about the fever, we are introduced to the characters and setting. For example, we meet and learn about Matilda, Mother,Polly, Mathew, Eliza, and a little bit about Mattie's father and grandfather. We learn that the story takes place in Philadelphia in the year 1793. We understand that Mattie works in her family's coffeehouse.

49: eXposition | All the information we gather in the exposition help us understand the story better when the rising action begins. | "My father had built our home and business after the War for Independence ended in 1783...The coffeehouse sat just off the corner of Seventh and High Streets"(7).

50: Y | is for | If not for the yellow fever, this entire book would not have been written.

51: yellow fever | The yellow fever epidemic really happened in 1793, leaving thousands of Philadelphia residents dead. At the time, doctors were not positive what was spreading the disease, which would change the skin tone and eye color of the victim to a yellowish hue, and would eventually kill them if they did not receive the proper care. There were two treatments from different doctors. Dr. Rush would drain blood and make his patients throw up in attempt to save him, but he may have actually killed them. The French doctors recommended rest, fresh air, and fluids, which turned out to be the right way to treat the fever. Yellow fever still exists, but it does not infect people in the United States or America anymore. Dr. Walter Reed discovered that the mosquito was carrying the disease in 1902, and a vaccine was developed in the 1930s.

52: Z | is for | When the death toll started getting high, people began to panic. Businesses shut down. The government left for safety. Death carts were pushed around. People were even thrown into the streets by their families. Friends would avoid each other.

53: Zero Calmness | Mattie was shocked that the cart she was on drove by a helpless, needy man dying on the side of the road. But this was not an uncommon sight.

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Josie  O'Connell
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