Years of Wonders Social Structure

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The social structure and institutions of the village of Eyam are severely challenged during the year of the plague. Discuss The small town of Eyam was enveloped with the Bubonic plague in 1665-1666. In Geraldine Brooks’ historical fiction ‘Year Of Wonders’ relationships, beliefs values, laws and friendships are threatened in the village at every level, however not all outcomes are negative from the devastation of a collapsing town. The novel demonstrated that it Is possible for strong characters or even reserved characters to take initiative in a fundamental time, despite the collapsing of their society around them.

During the plague, villagers were torn between their faith in God and superstitious beliefs. The novels protagonist Anna Frith faithfully follows Mompellion’s guidance after the plague strikes. However as misery upon misery pile up, she begins to question her faith. The struggle with death and darkness ultimately costs Anna her faith in God. In particular, her faith is lost when Maggie Cantwell dies. Overtime, her faith becomes tattered, and she is not sure what she believes in. The Novels leader, Michael Mompellion, the distraught and defeated young man closes his bible after he accuses god of being a “poor listener”. Brooks placement of the bible falling is symbolic of his personal fall from grace. “ His hand on the bible, but he never opens it, not anymore….The bible hit the floor with a dull thud.” Expand Puritan beliefs fade, they begin to question the bible and god.- expand

Men were more superior then women in the 17th century. However, in years of wonders the voice of women is heard. Anna Frith was house wife, a mother of two and hungered to learn. Her voice was heard by Elinor Mompellion who taught her to read and right. Her knowledge lead her to studying medicine, which was however, not a typical women’s thing in the 17th Century. Essentially women were not the ones working. Nevertheless, during the plague year these women were. For...
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