Heroes of Us All

Year of Wonders Essay

“The plague will make heroes of us all…” To what extent is this true?

The theme of heroism and selflessness is no doubt one of the most obvious messages throughout Geraldine Brooks’ historical fiction “Year of Wonders.” A hero can be defined as someone who is admired and idealized for his or her courage, outstanding achievements and noble qualities. Michael Mompellion-Eyam’s Rector, states that “the plague will make heroes of us all” to Jakob Brand as he returns to the village carrying the injured Maggie Cantwell; and to a particular extent this is certainly true. However there are some exceptions of this, such as Josiah Bont who unquestionably would not be classified as a hero due to his wicked sins committed between 1665-1666. Although saying this, characters such as Anna Frith, along with Elinor and Michael Mompellion could be said to truly fit into this exemplary category during the season of the Plague. They are deemed heroic thanks to their selfless devotion towards the welfare of others, and show strength and courage in the face of loss and disaster. Of these three characters, it is Anna Frith who is considered the greatest hero during the “Year of Wonders.”
There are many scenes that demonstrate to the audience the true hero that Anna Frith really is. Transforming from a lower class servant into a self-assured and resourceful woman, Anna is heavily relied on by her villagers during the Plague crisis-and rightly so. Following the Gowdies death, Anna steps up to take responsibility as ‘healer’ of the village of Eyam. With her best efforts, she joins with Elinor Mompellion in researching and developing particular remedies for the disease, in aim of curing their suffering patients. Along with this, Anna attends the bedsides of the sick and dying, sacrificing her own health and well being in order to comfort others. This is no doubt a true act of altruism-a vital characteristic for someone to be deemed a ‘hero’.   Due to these acts of...