‘Is year of wonders primarily a study of grief and loss, or does it offer the reader an uplifting, optimistic message? ‘Is year of wonders primarily a study of grief and loss, or does it offer the reader an inspiring, positive message?
Geraldine Brooks, depicts a community caught in extraordinary times in her historical novel Year of Wonders, which is set in the ‘plague town’ Eyam in 1666–1667. It was known as the ‘hardest season’ of Eyam where loss and grief was rousing. The plague that had risen to Eyam, had caused many losses of lives, however plague had individuals find direction and purpose and act as a rebirth to life. Although characters experience weaknesses, they are able to conquer their weaknesses and fears. Even when Eyam was then called ‘the season of death’ it was also a lesson to the society and how individuals persevere and become resilience in crisis. As entire families were wiped out, Anna frith had suffered an extreme trauma throughout the novel of Geraldine Brooks. We observe Anna’s thoughts about the mine ‘I had been afraid of mines long before’ due to at the start of the novel, Anna loses her loved husband whilst he was working in the mine. Even though her husband’s death was not a result of the plague, it still had depicted he weakness of Anna Frith. Due to the result of the extreme trauma plague had unleashed upon characters, the whole village was slowly getting wiped out, like the death of her both sons Jamie and Tom along with her lodger George Viccars and her role models in the Gowdies along side with others in the village. Anna Frith was known to be a young lady who was ‘a woman who faced more terrors than many warriors’. Anna Frith who had confronted more fears and uncertainties then other characters; she intends to be able to self-develop herself through her love of knowledge. Anna, a young lady who had lost her husband and two sons, was to be able to wipe away her fears and develop herself throughout Brooks’ novel. Anna questions her faith in God ‘can’t form a prayer’ and allowed her to confront her relationship with the natural world. Anna who was worshipping a Christian God even attending the Sunday services in the village church, despite this she starts losing faith in God due to the trauma plague had made her face, allowing Anna to lose her both sons Jamie and Tom along with her lodger George Viccars and her role models in the Gowdies along side with others in the village. Anna’s love of knowledge, Brooks shows her readers the transformation of a weak young lady to an optimistic and strong woman. Even though Anna knew she could have been called a ‘witch’ due to her being a widow and analysing herbs, her attachment of knowledge did not stop her from analysing herbs. The plague year sees Anna triumph over her fears and inhibition as well as overcoming the many barriers thrown her way. Throughout her analysis of herbs, and experience in midwifery, the busyness that had occurred eased her pain and made Anna look to the world in a brighter and hopeful way. The plague had set free extreme measures to the villages such as the black magic people had tried in order to vanish the plague. The black magic had shown us that the loss and belief of God in between individuals had started to spread apart. Hence, the plague had left the society of suspicion between individuals. The society had become anti-social in order to protect the contagion of the plague. Individuals had tried their best to avoid each other, so conversation does not erupt and thus will not allow the sickness spreading from one to another. The suspicion plague had bombarded individuals had let the society drown Mem to see if she was a witch or not therefore had also resulted Anys’ death. After Mem was the suspect of a witch, she was thrown in to the water. Her niece Anys’ had saved her life which therefore had the society think Anys was a witch. The only place individuals would come across each other, would be in the church...
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