Josiah Bont, the protagonist’s father, ‘was a man of few words, and those mostly curses’, as well as vile and physically and psychologically violent towards his wife, ‘she had worn the helmet a night and a day… [Josiah] yanking hard on the chain so that the iron sliced her tongue’, and his daughter, ‘see? I said you’d learn at me knee, and you’ll damn well do as I tell ye. Someone fetch me a branks to muzzle this scold!’ Abusive, ‘He was a quick man, ever quick with a blow’, and a drunkard ‘he would end everyday there [Miner’s Tavern], drinking until he could barely stagger home’ but although ‘he loved pot, the pot did not love him, and made of him a sour and menacing creature’. He dies from a storm after his misfortunate forgotten retrieval from the punishment of having knives hammered through his hands into mine stowes.
The character Aphra in the novel by year of wonders written by Geraldine Brooks is portrayed as mean, wild and cunning just like Josiah her husband. Anna there step daughter ‘was always a pair of hands before I [she] was a person. Aphra was very much a bystander in Anna’s life, especially when it came to Josiah beating her, Aphra’s only remark was when he struck her on the face ‘ for we’ll never marry her off’ only thinking of herself and not Anna’s wellbeing. Perhaps the only good thing Aphra ever done for Anna was encourage her marriage to Sam Frith ‘Better she be bedded early to Frith than bedded untimely by some youth’ This pushed Anna away. Although Aphra was a very proud woman, she was jealous of the bonds Anna had with members of the community such as Elinor ‘You’re not my step daughter now. Oh no. You’re too fine for the likes o’ me [elinor]’. ‘Out of our negligence and her loneliness came rage. Much rage and some madness…’ The grief from the loss of children as well as her anger towards her husband drives her into lunacy, and in the end the murder of Elinor and herself.
Aphra Bont is wife to Josiah Bont hence she also is Anna Frith’s stepmother. She does not care about Anna’s welfare, “to my stepmother, Aphra, I was always a pair of hands before I was person”. Aphra does not defend her stepdaughter, Anna, from the physical abuse she endures at the hand of her father. Her selfishness is highlighted by only defending Anna “if he [Josiah] struck me [Anna] on the face…for we [Josiah and Aphra] never marry her [Anna] off”. As a result she encouraged Anna’s marriage to her miner husband Sam Frith “better she be wedded early to Frith than bedded untimely by some youth”. The Plague changes Aphra from being a loyal wife to a wife who blames her husband for the loss of her children and her eventuating suffering, “and her [Aphra] loneliness came much rage. In her madness Aphra laments on qualities she never possessed or gave others around her “who has pity...and where may peace be found”. Aphra, the highly superstitious woman, ends up responsible for three deaths, including her own.
Elizabeth Bradford is the aristocratic daughter of Colonel Bradford. Elizabeth is very proud and protective of her aristocratic family “We cannot have our family name flaunted in this village for all to stare at.” Elizabeth remains very ignorant throughout, she expects her servants including Anna, to bow down to her, even after her family returns to the village after fleeing in fear of contracting the plague. Although the reader sees Elizabeth as a very stroppy young girl, she reveals a vulnerable side to Anna when she breaks down and blurts out the seriousness of her mother’s situation, with her being pregnant with a baby that is not her fathers. Elizabeth was prepared to kill her new born half-sister just to save her mother’s life as she knew the colonel would surely kill both of them, this shows she...