81 pages 2 hours read

Jim Murphy

An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793

Nonfiction | Book | Middle Grade | Published in 2014

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Essay Questions

Use these essay questions as writing and critical thinking exercises for all levels of writers, and to build their analysis skills by requiring textual references throughout the essay.

Differentiation Suggestion: For English learners or struggling writers, strategies that work well include graphic organizers, sentence frames or starters, group work, or oral responses.

Scaffolded Essay Questions

Student Prompt: Write a short (1-3 paragraph) response using one of the bulleted outlines below. Cite details from the text over the course of your response that serve as examples and support.

1. During the yellow fever outbreak, medical professionals were not able to reach consensus on how to stop the transmission of the virus.

  • Why did medical professionals during this time disagree? (topic sentence)
  • Find one example from the text in which there was disagreement between medical professionals regarding the outbreak and describe it in detail.
  • How does this specific disagreement speak to the larger theme of Folk Remedies Versus Science?

2. Consider the role that race played in the yellow fever outbreak.

  • In what ways were African American citizens involved in supporting sick Philadelphians during the outbreak? (topic sentence)
  • Describe one example from the text of how African Americans supported the sick community during the outbreak.
  • How does the way in which African Americans were treated after helping with the outbreak speak to the larger theme of Racial Dynamics in Philadelphia?