Mr. Zachary Alexander
July 17, 2012
Document Reaction Paper: A Chronicle of the Black Death by Jean de Venette
Ring around the rosy, pocket full of poesy, ashes, ashes, we all fall down. This seemingly innocent nursery rhyme that we all sang as little kids is actually a description of one of the most tragic outbreaks in all of history. This little ditty describes the signs and progress of the black death. Ring around the rosy, the plague first makes an introduction to it's victim by a boil like sore in the groin or the armpit. Pocket full of posy, people would stuff flowers in their pockets and around their necks to keep the stench of their illness to a minimum. Ashes, ashes, the description of what this horrific plague does to one's skin when the deterioration phase begins. We all fall down, death being completely inevitable for someone unlucky enough to be contaminated by this illness. This nursery rhyme is one of the reminders we have today that keeps us in check. It reminds us that we don't have total control, mother nature has a funny way of reminding the human race who has the most power. A french friar named Jean de Venette recorded an amazingly detailed account of the black death. His personal experience seeing the bubonic plague first hand must have been excruciating. France was one of the hardest hits of the Black Death. The breakout occurred during the mid-1300's, a time where famine had recently struck. In addition, wars were still a major issue for Europe. Towns were cramped with poor sanitation. If one person in the house was infected, everyone in the house was infected. This pestilence couldn't have found a more opportune time to take full force on the human race.
The origins of this nasty epidemic were fought about for many years, but modern day historians have come to an agreement. The disease was found in fleas who were on rats. These rats went from town to...