Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks Essay

828 Words 4 Pages
The premise of the novel (Year of Wonders) could be seen as the antithesis of a journey as the villagers voluntarily agree to undertake a quarantine, which means they literally cannot go anywhere. In what way does this text represent a journey?

Though the characters in Year of Wonders are unable to take a physical journey due to their actions, their circumstances cause them to embark on many spiritual, mental and emotional journeys through the course of the novel. Anna Frith, for instance, is forced during the plague year to overcome the deaths of her sons and family, and take upon many new roles that she otherwise would not have. The text also takes the reader on an imaginative journey. With characters that show human failings and its
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This is also shown through her learning of medicine under Elinor Mompellion, as the death and suffering around her act as a catalyst for her to undertake these studies, so that she may fight the plague in some way.

Anna also undertakes a spiritual journey over the course of the book. Her learning of the villages’ Rector, Michael Mompellion’s true thoughts near the novels end, as well as her realisations on the nature of some of the other villagers causes her to question her Christian faith and its restrictions it places on her in the society she lives in. This can be seen in her accepting view of the Muslim faith in the epilogue.

Year of Wonders can also be seen as taking the reader on an imaginative journey. Through reading the book we can imagine ourselves in the time at which the characters live, faced by their same decisions. Geraldine Brooks has helped further this in a number of ways. The story is told in a first person perspective, allowing the reader to understand Anna’s feelings and attitudes. Period dialogue is used to help transport the reader into the time and place in which the novel is set. Geraldine Brooks has paid particular attention into giving the majority of the characters secret failings for instance, the Rectors beliefs causing him to punish his wife, and Aphra, Anna’s Mother’s decline into madness and superstition. This has the effect of making them seem more human
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