"The Raging Quiet"
By Sherryl Jordan
A worthwhile novel teaches us about people, and how they respond and interact in different situations. "The Raging Quiet" by Sherryl Jordan (Simon & Schuster 2000) is a book which deals with the struggles of acceptance in the middle ages. The novel deals with issues such as witchcraft, women and the misunderstanding of disabilities, leaving the reader with a new perspective on medieval life, and therefore making the novel worthwhile.
"The Raging Quiet" is the intriguing tale of Marnie, a young woman forced to marry the son of her landowner to save her family. Isake leads Marnie to the small town of Torcurra, where he repeatedly rapes her, leaving her feeling more relieved than heartbroken when after only two days of marriage, the lord dies from a fall when thatching the roof. Marnie is left to look after herself, in a town full of strangers who suspect that she murdered her husband, and the only people who befriend her are the priest, Father Brannan, and an outcast, Raven.
The townspeople believe Raven to be a madman inhibited by the devil, but as their friendship develops, Marnie discovers that he is not mad, but profoundly deaf, a concept not yet accepted in medieval times. The two of them work together to create a language of "hand-words", and open up a new realm of communication for Raven. However, as their friendship grows, so do the suspicions of the townspeople, and when the people of the village witness Marnie using sign language to communicate with Raven, they believe it to be witchcraft, and she is sentenced to the ordeal of trial by hot iron. The story is full of hope and discovery in a time where anything that was not normal was deemed work...