The Historical Representation of Mattie Cook in Fever 1793

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 626 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Mar 8, 2024

Words: 626|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Mar 8, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Contextualizing Fever 1793
  2. The Yellow Fever Epidemic and Its Impact
  3. Representing Mattie Cook
  4. What Mattie's Story Tells Us About Society
  5. Conclusion

In Laurie Halse Anderson's novel, Fever 1793, we follow the story of a young girl named Mattie Cook as she navigates the hardships and challenges of the Yellow Fever epidemic in Philadelphia. While Anderson's depiction of Mattie may be fictional, it is rooted in real events and s that provide a window into life in 18th century America. This essay will take a closer look at the historical representation of Mattie Cook in Fever 1793, exploring the ways in which her story reflects broader societal themes and challenges from this period in U.S. history.

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Contextualizing Fever 1793

Before we delve into the specific representation of Mattie, it is important to contextualize the historical of the novel. In the late 1700s, the United States was still in its early formation, having gained its independence in 1776. Philadelphia was one of the largest cities in the country and served as the nation's capital from 1790-1800. During this time, however, the city was also afflicted by a series of Yellow Fever epidemics, which had a significant impact on the city's population and economy.

The Yellow Fever Epidemic and Its Impact

Yellow Fever was a highly infectious disease that was spread by mosquitoes. It was particularly common in hot and humid environments, making Philadelphia's summers a breeding ground for the disease. In 1793, the first outbreak of Yellow Fever struck the city and quickly spread, infecting thousands of residents and resulting in a high death toll. As a result of the epidemic, many fled the city, leaving it in a state of chaos and disorder.

Representing Mattie Cook

Against this backdrop, Mattie Cook's story unfolds. As a young girl living in Philadelphia, Mattie is forced to confront the harsh reality of life during the Yellow Fever epidemic. Her mother, a prominent coffeehouse owner, falls ill and is taken to a makeshift hospital, leaving Mattie to fend for herself and care for her sick grandfather.

Throughout the novel, we see Mattie's resilience and determination to survive and protect those she loves. She takes on odd jobs to make ends meet and becomes a caretaker for sick patients, eventually joining forces with a group of doctors and nurses who are working to combat the disease. Through her experiences, we see the devastating impact of Yellow Fever on families and communities, as well as the ways in which people came together to help each other in times of crisis.

What Mattie's Story Tells Us About Society

Beyond Mattie's personal journey, her story also sheds light on broader societal themes and challenges during this time period. First and foremost, the Yellow Fever epidemic highlighted the precariousness of life in 18th century America. In a time with limited medical knowledge and resources, diseases like Yellow Fever posed a significant threat to public health and safety. The epidemic also revealed social and economic inequalities, as many wealthy residents were able to flee the city and access medical care while poorer residents were left to fend for themselves.

Additionally, we see the ways in which communities responded to crises during this time period. While the government was largely ineffective in providing aid, local citizens and organizations stepped up to provide support and care for the sick. Mattie's experiences working with the doctors and nurses highlights the importance of community action and the power of individuals to make a difference.

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In conclusion, Laurie Halse Anderson's Fever 1793 provides a historical representation of a young girl, Mattie Cook, during the Yellow Fever epidemic in Philadelphia. Through Mattie's story, we gain insight into the broader societal themes and challenges of 18th century America, from the precariousness of life to the importance of community action. Additionally, the novel serves as a reminder of the human toll of epidemics and the importance of coming together to support one another in times of crisis.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

The Historical Representation of Mattie Cook in Fever 1793. (2024, March 07). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 19, 2024, from
“The Historical Representation of Mattie Cook in Fever 1793.” GradesFixer, 07 Mar. 2024,
The Historical Representation of Mattie Cook in Fever 1793. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 19 Jul. 2024].
The Historical Representation of Mattie Cook in Fever 1793 [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 07 [cited 2024 Jul 19]. Available from:
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