Year of Wonders- Nature Versus Religion

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“Year of Wonders” suggests that Nature and Religion will always be opposing forces. -Discuss-

Geraldine Brooks’ novel of the 17th century plague, the “Year of Wonders”, conveys how religion and nature will inevitably remain opposing forces, through the eyes of the protagonist, Anna. Several notions regarding this topic exist throughout the novel, yet are mainly brought to mind by the inquisitiveness of Anna, and her independence. For instance, the beginning of Anna’s scepticism can be seen by her confusion of the topic of idolatry in regard to her unconditional love for her children. She begins to secretly doubt the legitimacy of the Bible’s interpretation of God’s words, due to the harshness of its nature. Denying the primitive mentality of the town, Anna follows her own instincts of liberty by discovering homeopathic remedies and medicinal plants due to the inspiration of the Gowdies. With this, she begins a journey of near solitude in reference to the inner workings of the town. None of which, however, would have been possible if not for the compassion of her friend, Elinor. Anna gains no satisfaction from the religious explanations of her suffering, and rebukes the idea of death being a righteous judgement of God. But rather, Anna finds a state of peace and tranquillity in the Gowdie’s herbal garden where her intelligence can flourish as she is no longer constrained by the prison of religion and the conformed patriarchal society.

The events that take place in the town of Eyam are conveyed through the footsteps of Anna Frith. As these events take place, her scepticism begins to unravel, thus, revealing her true inner feelings and we see an evolution in her own personality. Even at the beginning of the novel, questions regarding faith arise as Anna contemplates over several key issues depicted in the text. The topic of idolatry is the first to be exposed, and reveals a new and independent side of Anna which was contrary to Christian faith. We view Anna as...
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