Year of Wonders

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  • Topic: Hero, Eyam, Novel
  • Pages : 3 (955 words )
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  • Published : October 4, 2012
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'In Year of Wonders it is the female characters who are the real heroes. The male characters are negative and destructive.' Discuss.

Geraldine Brooks' work of historical fiction, Year of Wonders, concentrates on emotional and physical conflict and the innate response of the villagers of Eyam at a time of crisis. The novel reflects on Anna Frith, an "ordinary" resident of the village, highlighting her profound mental and emotional development as the events unfold. With the guidance of Elinor Mompellion, Anna endeavoured to support her community throughout the plague, establishing the archetype of 'hero'. Although the central female characters of the novel, Anna and Elinor, were conveyed as heroic, the majority of women struggled to have any notable positive impact, largely due to the oppression of their dominant husbands. Furthermore, there were a number of male characters who strived to do 'good', contrary to their generalisation of being characterised as 'negative and destructive'. However, the focus of heroism is drawn towards the female characters.

Anna's efforts throughout the plague were transcendent, surpassing that of any other villager. The novel encompassed Anna's 'journey' throughout the course of events, having significantly more importance to the plot than the plague itself. However, it was Elinor that begun Anna on her journey, helping her see that the good she could do, no matter how trivial, could help others profoundly. It was through Elinor that Anna discovered hope, which fuelled her desire to step up as the compassionate 'hero' of Eyam. She was able to accomplish this by detaching herself from religious ideology, which was the cause of humanity seeing the world in "dark and light... [which] was how [she] was taught to view the world." Anna was able to fully embrace life, which enabled her to develop a passion for midwifing, fulfilling her characterisation as a 'hero'. Elinor's endeavours concerning the crisis, too, was of a benevolent...
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