Fever 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson is a Historical Fiction novel set in early Philadelphia and its surrounding areas. The story's main protagonist, Mattie, is young and ambitious girl who runs a coffee shop with her mother and grandfather. Once yellow fever breaks out and spreads, their town and its inhabitants are ravaged by the disease. Being forced out of town, Mattie and her Grandfather embark on a treacherous journey made more difficult by the fact that she may never see her mother (who contracts the disease) again. As time passes, Mattie realizes that she cannot escape this deadly disease and the dangers it brings. The ability to persevere is an ongoing theme throughout the entire story. Mattie will have to grow up quick and overcome numerous challenges, which present themselves.
Photo of Philadelphia courtesy of the National Archives
This novel study of Fever 1793 is created to enhance a child's understanding of the Philadelphia Yellow Fever epidemic, in 1793. Children will be engaged in a variety of activities, which will enhance their reading, writing, comprehension, critical thinking, and language skills. For the full unit plan, please see my educational store at:
Before Reading - Web Hunt
Directions: Utilizing the internet, complete the following web hunt.
Reading Assignment 1: Ch. 1-4
While reading chapters 1 - 4, you need to fill out the character trait table below. You may need to refer to your character trait notes from The Pearl to remind you of the meanings of each trait.
After you have read chapters 1 - 4 and completed the character trait table, you need to choose one of the characters and create a Wordle to characterize and describe them. Try to come up with as many accurate words possible to describe your chosen character. Make sure to print your Wordle when completed.
For full unit, please visit http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Wake-Up-Sunshine
Reading Assignment 2: Ch. 5-7
Within this reading assignment, the students are going to utilize literary circle jobs. Within your group of 4-5 students, you will choose one of the literary jobs below to complete for the assigned chapters. Explanations of each literary circle job are given below.
- Discussion Director: You must create 10 critical thinking questions to discuss with your group about the assigned reading. These cannot be simple yes/no questions. The questions must allow for deep discussion with varying viewpoints.
- Summarizer: You must choose the key events from the assigned reading. Once you have made a list of these events, put them into a paragraph summary. Make sure that the summary is in chronological order.
- Passage Master: You will choose certain passages (1 - 3 sentences) to copy and read aloud to the group. Then, you must indicate why you felt each passage was important enough to share.
- Connector: Your job is to make connections within the assigned reading (i.e. text to self, text to text, or text to world, or do the characters remind you of anyone? Explain.)
- Illustrator: You will draw and color a picture of something that stands out in your mind from the assigned reading. Make sure to indicate why this was important to you.
Reading Assignment 3: Ch. 12-15
After this reading assignment, you will complete a "Making Learning Visible" task. The task, Put Yourself in Another's Shoes, asks you to put yourself into a position of someone in any of the pictures provided. You must explain what you feel the person is experiencing, and how they feel about their current situation.
Directions: Read the excerpt below. Answer the questions which follow, to the best of your ability.
Arthur Mervyn; Or, Memoirs of the Year 1793 by Charles Brockden Brown
I was resident in this city during the year 1793. Many motives contributed to detain me, though departure was easy and commodious, and my friends were generally solicitous for me to go. It is not my purpose to enumerate these motives, or to dwell on my present concerns and transactions, but merely to compose a narrative of some incidents with which my situation made me acquainted. Returning one evening, somewhat later than usual, to my own house, my attention was attracted, just as I entered the porch, by the figure of a man reclining against the wall at a few paces distant. My sight was imperfectly assisted by a far-off lamp; but the posture in which he sat, the hour, and the place, immediately suggested the idea of one disabled by sickness. It was obvious to conclude that his disease was pestilential. This did not deter me from approaching and examining him more closely. He leaned his head against the wall; his eyes were shut, his hands clasped in each other, and his body seemed to be sustained in an upright position merely by the cellar-door against which he rested his left shoulder. The lethargy into which he was sunk seemed scarcely interrupted by my feeling his hand and his forehead. His throbbing temples and burning skin indicated a fever, and his form, already emaciated, seemed to prove that it had not been of short duration. There was only one circumstance that hindered me from forming an immediate determination in what manner this person should be treated. My family consisted of my wife and a young child. Our servant-maid had been seized, three days before, by the reigning malady, and, at her own request, had been conveyed to the hospital. We ourselves enjoyed good health, and were hopeful of escaping with our lives. Our measures for this end had been cautiously taken and carefully adhered to. They did not consist in avoiding the receptacles of infection, for my office required me to go daily into the midst of them; nor in filling the house with the exhalations of gunpowder, vinegar, or tar. They consisted in cleanliness, reasonable exercise, and wholesome diet. Custom had likewise blunted the edge of our apprehensions. To take this person into my house, and bestow upon him the requisite attendance, was the scheme that first occurred to me. In this, however, the advice of my wife was to govern me. I mentioned the incident to her. I pointed out the danger which was to be dreaded from such an inmate. I desired her to decide with caution, and mentioned my resolution to conform myself implicitly to her decision. Should we refuse to harbour him, we must not forget that there was a hospital to which he would, perhaps, consent to be carried, and where he would be accommodated in the best manner the times would admit.
1. The author uses a point of view which helps you, the reader understand . . .
a. How his family feels about their servant maid.
b. What all the characters think and feel.
c. How he felt about his current situation.
d. How the sick person felt.
2. Where in the text does it show that the narrator's family is not sick, yet?
3. Using text clues, how do you think the narrator feels about his wife?
a. He respects her and values her opinions.
b. He feels she is beneath him; that she has no say in the household.
c. He loves her, but doesn't think she is very intelligent.
d. He felt very little love or concern for his wife.
4. The narrator characterizes the disease by . . .
a. Telling the reader specifically about Yellow Fever.
b. Using figurative language and description to describe how a person with the disease feels and acts.
c. Speaking of how fearful everyone in the area has become.
d. Indicating that most people don't know much about the disease.
5. What best describes the narrator's feelings in the excerpt below:
"In this, however, the advice of my wife was to govern me. I mentioned the incident to her. I pointed out the danger which was to be dreaded from such an inmate. I desired her to decide with caution, and mentioned my resolution to conform myself implicitly to her decision."
a. He is confident in his decision making.
b. He had no trust in his wife's help or assistance.
c. He had great faith in his wife's ability to make a good decision.
d. He wanted no help from his wife whatsoever.
6. What truly worried the narrator about allowing the sick man into their residence?
a. He feared for his own safety.
b. He had a wife and a young child.
c. He didn't want to give the sick gentleman false hope.
d. The narrator was not worried about the situation.
7. Which synonym would best replace the word emaciated in the following sentence?
His throbbing temples and burning skin indicated a fever, and his form, already emaciated, seemed to prove that it had not been of short duration.
8. What sense does the following phrase appeal to?
"His throbbing temples and burning skin indicated a fever . . ."
9. Which worlds would you change in the following phrase to create sensory detail?
"Returning one evening . . ."
a. Change one evening to at night.
b. Change Returning to On the way back.
c. Change evening to dusk.
d. Change one evening to one humid evening.
10. Using context clues, what do you think happened to the narrator's servant-maid?
During this reading, a partner and yourself will complete a letter board. For each letter, try to come up with a thought or idea to fill in regarding Chapter's 20 - 22.
After this reading, you will create a poetry page. This page will have four different poems regarding anything related to Fever 1793, thus far. See below for the types of poems you can choose from and their formats.
This is a poem with an AABBA scheme. The first two lines will have 3 definite syllables. Your next two will have 2 and the last one will have 3.
Choose an item and draw out the item using the words. For example, if you were to draw a syringe, you would use the word syringe over and over to illustrate the visual of a syringe.
This form poem has a specific number of words on each line.
1st line = 1 word
2nd line = 2 words
3rd line = 2 words
4th line = 3 words
5th line = 1 word
Once finished, draw boxes around each word to create a lantern.
First, find or draw pictures FIRST. Cut out the pictures you wish to include and paste them on your paper. Then, describe each feature using similes. For example: My eyes are as yellow as the sun. (A picture of yellow eyes)
Choose an emotion and describe it using the five senses.
Fear is . . .
Fear smells like . . .
Fear tastes like . . .
Fear sounds like . . .
Fear fells like . . .
Fear looks like . . .
Fear is . . .
Autobiographical (write as a character from the story)
Ballad (Retell an event in history in poetic verse)
"I Wish" Poem (write from a character's perspective in the story)
This form of poetry should be no shorter than 10 lines; each line must start with "I wish . . ."
For full unit, please visit http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Wake-Up-Sunshine
After reading Chapter's 23 - 25, you will choose one of your favorite parts of the book to create your own comic strip. Go to http://www.toondoo.com/Home.do?param=log&msg=1 and create your own account to begin. There are many fantastic scenes within the book, which are perfect for comic illustration. Choose wisely; the more you enjoyed the scene in the book, the more you'll enjoy making the comic strip! When finished, print in color (if possible).
Post Novel Activity Assessment
After the reading of Fever 1793, you will complete a multi paragraph essay on correlating elements between the novel's story and the song Welcome to the Black Parade, by My Chemical Romance.
Fever 1793 and Welcome to the Black Parade Note Card Examples