"Year of Wonders" by Geraldine Brooks

Essay by wylshepardHigh School, 11th gradeA, November 2008

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Enduring DevastationThe word plague can instantly silence any room, as the ideas that follow the word are indescribable. The circumstances are not an issue when it comes to plague, as the responses are always the same; panic, rage, greed, loneliness, superstition, and survival are the first thoughts on every sane persons mind. The behavior of people tends to not differ between The Year of Wonders and the Black Plague.

Throughout The Year of Wonders the society showed a remarkable ability to endure and convey hope despite the devastation of the plague. As the villagers try to surpass the disease the weaker aspects of human nature are exposed. The idea of facing terror directly is a scary one, the longing to escape, the need for a scapegoat; the deathly thoughts hide the overwhelming ability to rise above the plague with strength and compassion. Although some people, such as Anna, keep their physical energy and religious faith high, they are tested as Anna helps the sick and does everything she can to find hope within the catastrophe.

"Perhaps the Plague was neither of God nor the Devil, but simply a thing in Nature, as the stone on which we stub a toe" 1, when a village shuts themselves out from the world, superstitions and assumptions are made that replace reality. Ideas were often created to take the doing off of god and replace superstition with nature; an object that could be blamed but seldomly hurt. The struggle to keep faith in god was crucial at that time, but it was hard and the ability to find another cause that would take all blame out of gods hands instantly created happiness.

The Black Plague struck Europe in 1340 and killed one third of their population, there was no apparent response to the...