Fever, 1793 Discussion Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'Fever, 1793' is a novel by Laurie Halse Anderson about a teenager who contracts the yellow fever during the epidemic in Philadelphia in 1793. This asset contains classroom discussion questions about this novel.

Fever, 1793

Laurie Halse Anderson's Fever, 1793 is a historical fiction novel that describes living through the yellow fever epidemic from the perspective of a teenage girl. The questions in this asset will guide classroom discussions about this book.

Chapters 1-10

The questions in this section explore the characters, setting, and background information to help students understand the initial outbreak of the disease.

  • Describe the setting at the beginning of the story. Why do you think the author includes the buzzing mosquito in the description of the setting?
  • Describe Matilda's experiences with death prior to the outbreak. How is Polly's death different for Matilda?
  • There is much speculation as to the cause of the epidemic. Who is blamed for the disease? Connect this to a situation in current events in which a group of people are unfairly blamed for problems they did not cause. What precautions do people take to avoid getting ill? How effective are these precautions? What do you think would be the best plan?
  • Compare Matilda's plans for her future with her mother's dreams. Why are they different? How is this like disagreements mothers and daughters have today?
  • How is Mr. Rowley's diagnosis and treatment plan for Matilda's mother different from Dr. Kerr's? Which one do you think offers better advice? Explain your answer.

Chapters 11-20

The questions in this section discuss Matilda's bout with yellow fever and her recovery.

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