Study Guide

Nell in Fever, 1793

By Laurie Halse Anderson


Nell is the orphan girl Matilda finds in the streets of Philadelphia and takes in as her own (Chapter 21). She becomes a figure of sympathy that emphasizes the importance of caring for others, even if they are not of blood relation. Nell's name is possibly a reference to Charles Dickens' Nell, an orphan girl in The Old Curiosity Shop (1841).