Fever 1793 details the life of a teenage girl who must deal with Yellow Fever enraging her city. Throughout the novel, Matilda changes from a foolish girl into a responsible young adult. Before the outbreak, she lives with her widowed mother and grandfather in a coffeehouse that they run in the city of Philadelphia. Her mother is constantly nagging at her to complete her chores and not lay around all day. As the summer heat drags on, the talk of a new fever is spread around town. Soon the inhabitants are fleeing from the city in fear and the death toll is rising. Matilda is sent by her mother to a farm in the country with relatives. When her and her grandfather reach the border they are not allowed to leave Philadelphia as the officers at the border fear that her grandfather is sick and does not want him to bring the fever to their city. She returns to Philadelphia to find the coffeehouse boarded up and her mother missing. Later on, Matilda takes residence with the family helper, Eliza, who helps those afflicted with Yellow Fever. However, Eliza's nephews come down with the fever and Matilda takes them to live in the abandoned coffee shop. As the sickness continues to ravage the twins, the first frost comes, killing the remnants of the fever. Slowly, the city of Philadelphia recovers and Matilda gets the coffeehouse back in business. Once immature and hiding from chores, she now runs the shop efficiently and takes care of the children. However, she is constantly worrying as to whether or not her mother is alive and will return.
1. Her mother is a stern, demanding woman who is always at work and seems invincible to Matilda. Do you believe that Matilda's mother has survived the fever and will return and why?
2. Matilda is a dynamic character in the book. Where do you see the changes in her maturity throughout the novel?