Social Classes In Fever 1793

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Rebellion, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, is “the action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention”. This is showcased in the novel Fever 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson, through the unconventional behavior and society-defying actions of Mattie Cook, a fourteen-year-old girl living in Philadelphia in the late 1700s. The city is soon ravaged with yellow fever, a disease that tears families, friends, and society apart. Mattie’s family and friends, such as Mother, Polly, Eliza, and Nathaniel, accompany Mattie through her adversities and triumphs, as well as illustrate the rifts in society at the time. Social class divisions are represented similarly in Fever 1793 to history with the concept that various social classes would…show more content…
Those of different social classes typically only had working relationships. The author’s choice of creating a friendship between Mattie and Eliza affects the novel as it portrays Mattie and Eliza as two young women who challenge society’s expectations, rather than follow them. Further into the story, when Mattie opens the coffeehouse for business, she says, “Eliza, I want you to be my partner. There’s no one better suited to it, no one I can trust. Or who will put up with me” (Anderson 224). The quote shows that Mattie wanted Eliza to be her business partner, even though she was of a different social class. This was a rare event during the time because it was uncommon for people of separate social classes to work together as equals. Once the coffeehouse is open for business, Nathaniel helps with the running of it, as Mattie describes, “Eliza and Nathaniel sat in the kitchen. He had stepped in to help us with errands since we opened” (Anderson 229). The quote shows that Nathaniel was now working two jobs which was atypical as he already was an apprentice. This is different from the time period because people were expected to work in professions characteristic of their social class, also, it was rare for an apprentice to have a second job as they were supposed to focus completely on their apprenticeship. The role of Eliza, as well as Nathaniel, play an important part in the novel as they enhance the rebellion against society’s rules enacted by Mattie and her
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