| Quote #1
My city, Philadelphia, was wide awake. My heart beat faster and my head cleared. Below the window, High Street teemed with horsemen, carriages, and carts. I could hear Mrs. Henning gossiping on her front stoop and dogs barking at a pig running loose in the street. (1.25)
At the beginning of the novel, Philadelphia is characterized as a bustling vibrant city, filled with tradesmen, commerce, and life. What's more, it's the city that Matilda loves, that's very much a part of her: notice how both she and the city awaken at the same time.
| Quote #2
By midafternoon the front room of the coffeehouse was thick with customers, pipe smoke, and loud arguments. A ship's captain finished telling a yarn, and the windowpanes rattled with laughter. Mother poured him a cup of coffee with a steady hand. (4.1)
The Cook Coffeehouse is a microcosm of Philadelphia life: it's a place where news is exchanged, politics are discussed, and people come to socialize. It's a spot where opinions are formed and events are discussed. For more, see our section "Setting: Cook Coffeehouse."
| Quote #3
The market stalls stretched for three blocks in the center of the street. West Indian women stood by their pepperpot kettles stirring fragrant stews, while the hot corn girls walked up and down the street. The distant call of the charcoal man's horn sounded at the far end of the market. Chickens clucked and geese honked, customers argued about the price of pears, and children ran everywhere. (5.35)
Like the coffeehouse, the marketplace offers a glimpse of the makeup of the city. Here people from all different cultures and walks of life trade goods, offer food, and exchange news and gossip about the day's events. What places like this can you think of in your own city or town?