Practice Essay Topic 1: Year of Wonders
“in her novel Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks has shown the plague brought out the best and the worst in the people of Eyam”. Discuss. Throughout the historical fiction novel Year of Wonders, author Geraldine Brooks shows the audience that the horrific burden of the plague brought out the best and the worst in the people of Eyam. Under these unfamiliar circumstances, each of the villagers reacts differently to their losses, and how they handle themselves under the fear of not knowing who is next. Some of the mourning villagers are driven to the point of murdering, cruelty, and insanity in search of the reasons why the plague was brought upon them, and looking for the answers to find who is to blame for their suffering and “evil doubting of one another”. We see the worst of Rector Michael Mompellion, come out after all the good he brought to the community; and as he begins to lose his faith, the audience also witnesses his strengths fade after the death of his wife Elinor. It is evident that the best was brought out in our narrator, Anna Frith, and come to admire her as being one of the few who grew strong from the suffering she witnessed during the plague, and of the tragic loss of her children. The courageous journey that Brooks takes us on through the eyes of Anna is one that the reader can both sympathise for and admire. The way Anna reacts to what others say to her and the way that they act towards her, gives out a lot to learn about her personality, and how in the beginning she comes off to be the type of person to be easily overcome and influenced. We see this in the way that Elizabeth Bradford approaches her after returning to the village. It seemed that before the plague, whilst serving the Bradford’s, they deemed it necessary to have a class hierarchy between themselves and Anna. When they return Anna’s reactions to Elizabeth’s attitudes is evident that this class hierarchy is no longer existent. Anna is faced...
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