Year of Wonders is set in a tiny 17th century village.
Yet Brooks is able to give us a much wider view of the world. Discuss.
Geraldine Brooks’ Year of Wonders explores many issues of the world through Anna Frith’s retelling of her village Eyam’s suffering through the infamous Plague of the seventeenth century. By placing the people of Eyam into turmoil and death, Brooks demonstrates how different human beings react to crisis. The ongoing intelligence of the protagonist Anna, also serves as the beginning of enlightenment in science, while questioning the way religion is portrayed in society. Furthermore, the complex nature of Anna’s character as a house maid to the Mompellion’s allows Brooks to give the audience a greater insight of the class and values which existed in the real world.
Through the various ways the villagers respond to the crisis of the Plague, Brooks is able to explore human nature in all its complexities. Some of those reactions, the audience are encouraged to admire, while others, to be critical of. Brooks exposes how many people cannot adjust to the horror and uncertainty they have to face, how “fear [was] corroding our ability for clear thought”. There are individuals who resort to unconventional cures, for example, the self-flagellation of John Gordon and the village resorting to superstition by erroneously making accused-witch, Anys, their scapegoat. Greed is also apparent in Eyam, despite being in a tragic state of reoccurring death, with Josiah Bont stealing from those who already lost so much. In his contribution to even more suffering to the people of Eyam, Brook reveals the harsh reality of the world of how humans can be so cruel to each other. However, Brooks also captures the inner-heroism in human beings, in particular, the “courageous self-sacrifice” of the people of Eyam through its voluntary quarantine and the commitment the majority of the villagers undertake in uniting at Cucklett Delf every Sunday. The strength and...