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Quotes

Quote #4

"I'm burning," whispered Colette. She crumpled to the flowered carpet in a faint.

While Mrs. Ogilvie shrieked, Mother knelt down and laid the back of her hand against Colette's forehead. "The fever!" (7.68-7.69)

Death is the great leveler, and even comes to the posh Ogilvie residence. Though Colette will eventually survive the fever, we're reminded in this scene that, though different social classes may treat mortality differently, illness and death come for all.

Quote #5

"Some doctors warn we may see a thousand dead before it's over. There are forty-thousand people living in Philadelphia, William. Can you imagine if one in forty were to die?" (8.57)

As Mr. Carris suggests, the idea of an epidemic is difficult for the mind to comprehend. What does death mean once it reaches such staggering numbers? Are statistics the only way we can process the enormity of such a loss?

Quote #6

My shoe squashed something brown and green and soft. I shuddered and hurried my pace. I could never abide rotten fruit.

Fruit.

Fruit?

I spun around, wide awake and hungry.

Above me hung gnarled branches heavy with green speckled pears. I grabbed one and bit into it, ignoring the juice that ran down my fingers and chin. I gathered as many pears as I could carry and set off with new energy to find Grandfather. With food, we could hold out for days. (13.55-13.59)

One of the big ideas in this novel is that death is always accompanied by life. The two are inseparable, and Mattie must realize this in order to cope with her losses. She must see death as part of a cycle rather than an end. Here, she finds a pile of rotted fruit, which she dismisses; then she looks up and sees fresh fruit that can sustain her and her grandfather. How is the pear tree emblematic of the cycle of life and death?

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