Laurie Halse Anderson conducted extensive research in writing her novel, Fever 1793. As a piece of historical fiction, Fever, 1793 contains many allusions to real people and places that are important to telling the story of Philadelphia in the late summer and early fall of 1793. The article Yellow Fever Attacks Philadelphia provides a primary source which authors use to write both historical fiction and informational text. A primary source is an account written by someone who actually experienced the events. A secondary source is written by someone who has researched the events, but who was not present during the events. Read the above article, noticing people and places with which you are familiar from the novel. Think about the words of Samuel Breck, a Philadelphia merchant who lived in the city during the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793.
Laurie Halse Anderson uses primary sources in her epigraphs. They come from letters, journal entries, or newspaper articles written during the Fever. After reading the words of Mr. Breck, and thinking of the experiences of Mattie, write a letter that Mattie might pen from Bush Hill to her mother at the Coffee Shop. Use descriptive writing to give the reader a good idea of what Matie sees, hears, smells, tastes, and feels.
Don’t forget to take the quiz on PhotoPeach to refresh your memory for some historical details you may want to include in your letter.
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