‘A Year of Wonders’, written by Geraldine Brooks is based during an era that represents a challenging time in history where original ideologies of religion is confronted by the effects of a catastrophic disease known as the black plague. Because traditional remedies through religious rituals proved ineffective, core beliefs were questioned and faith waned. How does one respond through such calamities where a cure seemingly ceased to exist? Strength, bravery and tenacity through specific females in the novel demonstrated how individuals can respond in an exceptional manner in horrific situations. As well as highlighting the constructive effects, Geraldine Brooks also points out how a dissimilar outcome can also be created where iniquitous behaviour is resulted instead. Despite this, it is clear that although the author acknowledges the negative results, she tries to emphasise the heroic abilities instead through her narration of the novel ‘A Year of Wonders’.
The heroine of the novel, Anna Frith is a symbol of hope. She represents the underdog, a character for which has no significant importance in society, but as the story unfolds and her town becomes the breeding ground for a deathly infestation, she rises above her original character, an ordinary maid, and is transformed instead into a hero for her community. Her subservience is illustrated through her selfless act in which she helps Merry Wickford, a young orphaned girl who lost her family to the plague. To prevent Merry from living a ‘bleak future in a poorhouse’, Anna embarks on a dangerous mission to attain the required dose of lead in the Wickford mine. Such an act held many potential dangers, although aware, Anna continued with her pursuit. Described as ‘the one good, perhaps, to come out of [that] terrible year’, Anna is a clear example of how arduous times can make ‘heroes of us’.
Independent, unconventional and