by Laurie Halse Anderson
Fever, 1793 Women and Femininity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
By the time they had tightened, pinned, and locked me into my clothes, I could feel my stomach rubbing against my backbone. Mother pulled my arms back until my shoulder blades touched, the proper posture for a lady.
"She looks like a china doll," observed Grandfather as we departed.
"I will break just as easily," I muttered. (6.95-6.97)
Matilda's family dolls her up for her visit to the Ogilvie house where, her mother believes, she might just catch herself a husband. Does Matilda like wearing fancy, girly clothes? Why is the image of a broken doll important for Matilda?
The Ogilvie daughters, Colette and Jeannine, swept into the room, dressed in matching pink and yellow bombazine gowns, wearing their curled hair piled on top of their heads. I should have let Eliza curl my hair. Dash it all. (7.21)
Colette and Jeannie are rich girls who wear pretty prink dresses and have beautifully curled hair. Matilda finds it difficult to live up to the standard they set. Notice that they look very different physically from Matilda, but they also act differently. Instead of working in a coffeehouse, they learn French and practice feminine accomplishments. Do you relate more to Colette and Jeannine or to Matilda?
Mother's shift and blue-and-white striped overskirt fit better than I had imagined. They were made of cotton, spun fine and tightly woven, and felt as light as silk after wearing my dirt-encrusted homespun for so long. I twirled around the room, ready for a ball, curtsying to the east corner, and then the west. This would suit me fine. (18.12)
Once Matilda and Grandfather return to the city, Matilda starts wearing her mother's clothes. How is this a symbolic act? Though Matilda is wearing her mother's clothes, she still describes putting them on like she's playing dress up. How come?